Umbrellas are offered to Umrah pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Image Credit: The General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques

Cairo: The current season of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia coincides with a scorching heatwave that underlines importance of keeping hydrated while undertaking the rites.

To this end, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has offered a set of recommendations to Umrah pilgrims on how to avoid dehydration and fluid loss during performing rituals.

The ministry has exhorted the pilgrims to drink enough fluids, eat vegetables and fruits as well as avoid long exposure to the sun.

The faithful are also recommended to seek medical advice if necessary and take enough rest between arrival in the kingdom and undertaking Umrah at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in Mecca.

Temperatures have recently hovered around 50 degrees Celsius in some parts of Saudi Arabia.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia has introduced a host of facilities for overseas Muslims to come to the country to do Umrah.

Muslims holding different types of entry visas such as the personal, visit and tourist visas are allowed to undertake Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is located at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina after booking an e-appointment.

Saudi authorities have extended the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 and allowed holders to enter the kingdom via all land, air and sea outlets and leave from any airport.

The kingdom has also said that expatriates residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession, and be able to perform Umrah.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia announced adding eight more countries to the visit e-visa system, allowing their nationals to come to the kingdom for Umrah and tourism, raising the total number of countries whose citizens have access to this system to 57.