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Siraj Wahab, a journalist with Arab News, gives a rare and personal glimpse of the Haj pilgrimage in Mecca.
December 9, 2008 11:47 by kippreport
It had proved to be a nearly impossible task. In a brainstorming session after that Haj, a suggestion had been made to bring autorickshaws to the Haj, specifically for use in the jampacked streets of Mina. Many individuals working in Makkah during Haj depend on mopeds for transport but bikes can carry only two people — the driver and one passenger. Autorickshaws can carry three passengers and the driver, which is perfect in situations where couples are lost or elderly pilgrims need a lift. Initially, the South Asian Pilgrim Est. contracted with Bajaj Auto Ltd. to import 25 autorickshaws and experienced drivers to Saudi Arabia. That number has now grown to 50.
The autorickshaws are now so well known that pilgrims use them as a means of locating the South Asian pilgrims’ camps. Who would ever imagine that something so common in India and Pakistan would be so unusual in Mina that their parking area could be used as a landmark!