Srinagar: The first Haj flight carrying 270 pilgrims left on Monday for Madinah in Saudi Arabia, officials said. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was at the airport to see off the pilgrims.

Air India is this year operating direct flights from Srinagar to Saudi Arabia after a gap of four years.

"The first flight of Haj pilgrims carrying 270 Haj pilgrims left Srinagar for on Monday morning at 10.40 a.m.," an official said.

"There would be only one flight for the Haj pilgrims on Monday while Air India will operate two Haj flights daily from Srinagar to Madina from Sep 25 to Oct 10 when the last Haj flight will leave from here," Haj officer of the state Haj committee told.

Pilgrims started reaching the state Haj House in Bemina locality of the city right from 4 a.m. onwards on Monday.

All arrangements for foreign exchange, security clearance and other formalities were completed at the Haj House from where the pilgrims boarded buses for the Srinagar International Airport.

Elaborate arrangements of security and convenience for the pilgrims have been made by the state government which is overseen by senior civil and police officers.

Omar Abdullah wished the pilgrims well and asked them to pray for peace and prosperity.

This year over 8,700 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir are performing the annual Haj using official channels while another 500 are being facilitated by private travel operators.


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