Haj pilgrims to get sacred water cans on arrival

Riyadh : Indian nationals will be provided sacred Zamzam water cans on their arrival in India from the Haj pilgrimage under a new agreement finalised between the Haj Committee of India and Saudi Arabian Airlines, a media report said.

The specially packaged Zamzam water cans, provided by the government-run factory in Mecca, will be stored at various points in India to be delivered to the pilgrims once they return from Saudi Arabia after the pilgrimage. Each pilgrim will get one five-litre container, Arab News reported Friday.

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The new arrangement is aimed at easing the heavy load Haj pilgrims carry during travel as they pack many cans of Zamzan water in their luggage while returning from Mecca.

Indian Consul General in Jeddah B.S. Mubarak Thursday said negotiations were under way with Air India about transporting Zamzam containers on return flights, following the Saudi Airlines model.

“There are certain issues back home in India, but we are very optimistic that this will be sorted out, and Air India too will follow the Saudi Airlines pattern,” Mubarak told Arab News.

Earlier Monday, Mubarak announced the introduction of a new state-of-the-art navigation system based on Google mapping to help Indian pilgrims find their way to their accommodation in Mecca and Medinah during the Haj pilgrimage this year

This year, about 360 flights will be operated to transport 136,020 pilgrims, 100,020 of them facilitated by the Indian Central Haj Committee, from 21 embarkation points to Saudi Arabian cities.

Zamzam water is among the most prized items taken home by all returning pilgrims. Each pilgrim fills little bottles with the holy water and these are then given to relatives and friends as a form of gratitude and celebration.