India increases Hajj embarkation points to 25

Ministry of Minority Affairs approves four more cities where journey to Makkah may begin

Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. India says Muslim citizens will have more choice in beginning their journey to Saudi Arabia for Hajj this year. AP
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India has approved four more embarkation points for Hajj pilgrims, two in southern Kerala state, taking the total to 25.

Devotees from smaller cities and towns must use central points such as Delhi or Mumbai to fly to Saudi Arabia, stretching their journey and expenses.

India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs has approved four more — Kannur and Calicut in southern Kerala, Vijayawada in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Agartala in north-eastern Tripura state — for this year.

“The final number of embarkation points will be subject to a certain minimum number of passengers opting for the airport and the feasibility of setting up of the related infrastructure,” the ministry said.

It said the decision was taken after consultation with Muslim groups including state Hajj committees.

“During the interaction, demands for more embarkation points were received and the hardships faced by pilgrims due to fewer embarkation points were discussed,” the ministry said.

“After analysing all the feedback and consulting with stakeholders, the ministry has offered 25 airports as part of the menu of options that has to be exercised by pilgrims for Hajj 2023,” it said.

Other embarkation points include Srinagar in Kashmir and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

Updated: March 20, 2023, 9:03 AM