Pilgrims undertaking the annual Haj pilgrimage to the holy twin cities of Mecca and Medina will have to shell out Rs. 16000 for airfare this year, an increase of Rs. four thousand over the ticket expenses charged last year, say reports.
1,60,491 strong Indian contingent will participate in the pilgrimage this year, of which 1.15 lakh pilgrims undertake the journey through the Haj Committee and avail subsidy benefits provided by the government.
Those booked for travel through the Haj Committee will have to pay Rs 16,000 for air fare as against the Rs. 12000 the pilgrims paid last year.
This year two more embarkation points, Ranchi and Mangalore, have been added for the benefit of the pilgrims, the inclusion takes the total number of embarkation points in the country to 19.
The first lot of Pilgrims from Madhya Pradesh flies out for the cherished journey from Indore on Tuesday.
Indian Hajis will be the first to arrive for the pilgrimage that comes in the backdrop of concerns over the swine flu epidemic.