Srinagar: The first flight of pilgrims who performed the holiest Muslim pilgrimage of Haj this year reached here Wednesday.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah received the pilgrims on their return to the Srinagar international airport. State Minister for Haj and Auqaf Ajaz Ahmad Khan was also present.
"A total of 279 pilgrims landed here today (Wednesday) morning in the first fight and we are expecting 806 more Hajis in the afternoon in three more flights," state Haj officer Ali Muhammad Haroon told.
"This year, 8,414 pilgrims had been to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj from different parts of the state. The last flight of Hajis will land here Dec 10," he added.
The state Haj Committee has made arrangements for board and lodge of the incoming pilgrims at the local Haj House in Bemina area of summer capital Srinagar.
All pilgrims from different regions of the state will first land at the Srinagar airport and then leave for their homes.
No direct flights have been operated for the pilgrims from Jeddah to Srinagar despite Srinagar being an international airport.
The pilgrims had to take separate Srinagar-bound flights from Delhi after landing there from Jeddah earlier in the morning.
Relatives and friends had turned out in large numbers to receive their dear ones. To avoid unnecessary rush at the airport, only one close relative was given permission to receive the returning pilgrim.