New Delhi/Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is to revive historic sea route with India because of it’s large Muslim population. Saudi Arabia has entered into an agreement with India to re-open the Jeddah port for pilgrims traveling to Haj.
The process of sending Haj pilgrims via sea was abolished in 1995. The step was taken because of the age of the ship which was too old and travelling by sea was gradually going down. It had come down to 4700 by 1994. Finally, in 1995, it was completely closed. Since then Haj pilgrims journey by airoplane.
Many elderly Muslims remember those days when they travelled via sea route. It was a long journey of 10-12 days. Sakina Sheikh is a 73 old woman. She had travelled through the air and sea. She remembers,”The journey from air was faster and more comfortable but the journey via sea was more spiritualistic, it gave you the time to think about life and actions.
Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every able Muslim should perform Haj once in a lifetime. For Muslims, performing Haj is kind of ‘a dream come true’ event. Because of it’s large Muslim populations, pilgrims in large number reached to Saudi Arabia from India. By 2006, the number of Indian pilgrims reached 157,000, this year Saudi Arabia has allowed India to send only 170,000 pilgrims this year.