Mina (Saudi Arabia): Tens of thousands of Muslims, including Indians, ritually stoned the devil in Mina Valley for the second day today and sacrificed animals to mark the culmination of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The ritual began yesterday when the pilgrims, wearing the two-piece seamless white garment, stoned one wall representing the devil and a sizeable number of pilgrims participated today as well stoning the walls representing the devil.
The pilgrims, shouting 'Allah-o-Akbar" (God is Great), converged at Mina Valley, about five kilometres east of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, to hurl stones at the concrete pillars.
The stoning ritual symbolises the renunciation of evil in all its forms and a promise never to fall prey to the machinations and intrigues of Satan, the cursed.
It is meant to mirror Prophet Ibrahim's stoning of the devil when he appeared to try to dissuade him from obeying God's order to sacrifice Ismail.
The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam that should be performed at least once in lifetime by every Muslim who is financially and physically capable.
Over 136,000 Indian pilgrims performed Haj this year.
A total of 20,85,238 people participated in Haj, including 13,89,053 foreigners.
Indians continued to stay in their tents in Mina and came out in large numbers along with other pilgrims for the symbolic stoning of the devil for a second day today.
The stoning ritual would continue till Tuesday when this year's Haj would come to an end.
Indians would also stay in Mina for a couple of days and then the process of returning would start.
However, those Indians who came just before Haj will make a trip to Medina where Prophet Mohammad is buried.
The last flight back to India is on November 10 when this year's Indian Haj Mission will draw to a close.
Indian Consul General B S Mubarak said that everything is going on smoothly at Jamarat and within the tent city of Mina.
"We have so far not at all encountered any major issues. Unlike past years, there were very few missing cases, and only 20 such cases have been reported so far," he told PTI.
Indians, feeling a sense of fulfillment and gratification as their journey nears its end, were getting emotional with people seeing crying in camps.
Many were also overjoyed by their visit and said they were praying for another opportunity to come for Haj or Umrah.
"It has been an enriching experience. I feel like I am a changed man. My perspective to life has changed and I go back as a reformed person," Mohammad Shahid, a pilgrim from Amroha, told PTI.