The first batch of 840 Hajj pilgrims from Jammu & Kashmir left for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Hundreds of people who had assembled outside the Hajj house in Bemina Srinagar accorded a warm send off to the first batch of Haj pilgrims and wished them a safe journey and a smooth Manasik-e-Haj (Haj rituals), witnesses said.
As many as 8106 people from J&K are scheduled to perform Haj this year. They would be flown to Medina from Srinagar International Airport, with two flights operating each day.
The first Haj flight with 840 pilgrims aboard was scheduled to leave at 9 am, however, it got delayed and took off at 10.05 am for Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Haj and Auqaf Minister Farooq Andrabi saw off the pilgrims at the Srinagar international airport.
The second direct flight from Srinagar to Medina carrying another 420 pilgrims will leave at 11.35 am on Tuesday. Officials said two direct flights carrying 840 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir to Saudi Arabia will operate daily from Tuesday till 5 August.
Last year, nearly 6500 people travelled to Haj, but this time the Haj quota for Jammu and Kashmir was increased.
According to Islamic teachings, it is compulsory for Muslims, who have sufficient resources, to perform Hajj at least once during lifetime.