Saudii Arabi kaaba pilgrims
Pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand Mosque. Image Credit: Reuters file

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has unveiled a massive plan to serve around 3 million worshippers at Islam’s holiest sites in the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The plan was announced by Abdul Rrahman Al Sudais, the chief of the General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy mosques in Makkah and Medina.

The operation scheme is manned by 12,000 employees available round the clock to serve around 3 million worshippers in both mosques, said the official.

Dubbed “from arrival to access”, the plan focuses on the worshipper’s journey since arrival at the outer courtyards of the two holy sites and getting access to services of circling the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque and walking between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, which are the key rites of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, as well as to prayer and Itikaf (seclusion) areas.

“Besides, the plan takes care of monitoring and governance of all services to ensure their highest standards in the two Holy Haramein,” Al Sudais said.

According to him, the scheme is designed to facilitate the circumambulation rite around the Holy Kaaba for around 107,000 Umrah pilgrims per hour.

Ramadan, due to begin this year in late March, is usually the peak season for Umrah and is marked by intense worshipping.

“The Ramadan operation plan is centred on field presence, holding laxity to account, providing a safe, healthy environment in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, diversifying initiatives, optimal utilisation of artificial intelligence and use of apps in different fields for serving the highest numbers of Umrah pilgrims and visitors,” he added.