Hajj Guide : Makkah / Azizia Stay – Part I
I performed hajj last year via government scheme, so some of the things are might not relevant for the people going through private tour operators.
Kindly read entire post & captions under each photo
Departure from Pakistan:
– Make niyyat for your Umrah Ahraam before leaving for airport.
– Kindly pack sharp / metallic items, batteries, chargers, and all electronics in checked luggage.
– Properly label each bag & wheel-chair etc. with your Name, Building Number, Maktab Number, Passport Number & Flight Number.
– Lock all bags. Keep the keys of all locks within easy reach.
– Keep an eye over your luggage & hand-carry at all times.
– In case you are carrying a wheel-chair and a separate folding-chair, cling wrap both before checking-in. Folding-chair will be cling wrapped along with any one of your luggage bags. Wheel-chair will be cling wrapped separately. Wheel-chair weight will not be included in checked luggage weight & it will also be collected separately by airport staff. (basically they will ask you to add it in the stack & you will see yours only after reaching destination)
– Luggage & hand-carry will be opened at immigration. Keep your keys within easy reach or you will provide a chance to their knifes.
– Last year Pakistani helpers provided Mobily sim cards to pilgrims while boarding. It will be activated only after visiting Mobily office with a passport hard copy.
Arrival at Jeddah & Makkah:
PAKISTANI HELPERS IDENTIFICATION ; PERSONNEL WEARING NEON MESH JACKETS WITH PAKISTANI FLAG.
– Right after exiting airport, Pakistani helpers will take your luggage from you & will guide you towards your buses.
– Before boarding bus, helpers will ask you to handover your passport at bus gate. REMOVE YOUR RETURN BOARDING PASS before handing over your passport to them. Its necessary. Also, this is the last time you will be seeing your passport until your return day.
– At Makkah toll-plaza, mini zamzam bottles will be provided. Keep them; as instead of carrying regular water bottle, they will be handy to use during tawaafs.
– Mini meal boxes containing wrapped portable items will also be provided. If you don't wish to eat, kindly don't open & waste it.
– Upon reaching Makkah while still on-board, an identification card & a wrist band will be provided to you. Keep both safe and wear both at all times. This id card will be the only document to prove your stay.
In government scheme, there are two kinds of accommodation. One is VIP category, which is usually at the walking distance of Haram, Other is regular, which provides residence at Azizia. I am mentioning Azizia accommodation here.
– A building number is provided to you, which is usually a section of a hotel. Your number denotes your main-gate side of the building. Which means your reception, lobby area & lifts will be separate from other sections.
– Mezzanine floor will be common. Which includes prayer area, cafe and a doctor's clinic. Only use your side of lifts (elevators) or you can get lost.
– After reaching Makkah, wait in lobby/reception area. Helpers will bring luggage to the lobby area only, one by one from all buses.
– You will need to collect & carry luggage yourself to your room.
– 2 to 3 lifts (elevators) are usually at front. A much bigger lift is usually at the stairs side.
– Rooms will be in a flat-type accommodation. Rooms will be already assigned with your names pasted at doors. Separate for Male & Females.
– Each flat will have 2 to 3 rooms; all with attached washrooms.
– Each room will accommodate 4 or 5 people.
– Each room will have single beds (bedding, pillows & blankets included) & one common large cupboard.
– Each flat will have a hallway and a kitchen area.
– Each flat will have a fridge and a washing machine (washer+dryer) .
– Some kitchens may have a large electric kettle. No other kitchen utensils are provided.
– Each washroom will have a exhaust fan, a plastic washing tub and a separate dustbin.
– Water temperature will be at warmer side at all times.
– Each room door will have a separate key. Do not try to insert that key from inside, otherwise the lock will be jammed. Use only 'Kundi' to lock doors from inside.
– 2 or more Water dispensers will be available on all floors hallway near lifts.
– Cleanliness by cleaners will be maintained on daily basis. Bedding will be changed after every two to three days. You can always contact reception, in case of need.
– WiFi will be available only at reception area & mezzanine floor. Password will be provided by receptionists.
– Technicians will be available in case of any electric related problem.
– Doctor (general physician) will be available daily at mezzanine floor, usually from 8 a.m till 10 p.m. Consultation & medicines will be free of charge.
– 24/7 operational Pakistan Medical Center will be available at Makkah & Madina. PMC is a proper hospital. In case of need, ask your receptionist to call ambulance and you will be dropped at PMC within minutes. Consultation & medicines will be free of charge. They will also drop you back at your building.
– Do not take high-grade fever lightly and reach PMC immediately. Especially in case of elderly companions & kids.
– Shuttle Buses will be available either at your doorstep or at hardly a 5-minute walking distance.
– Remember the number of your shuttle buses by-heart. It is usually a two-digit number displayed at front / windscreen of the bus.
– Shuttle will be available 24/7
– Shuttle will take 15-20 mins to reach Haram
– 3 meals will be served at mezzanine floor
– Breakfast from 7 a.m – 9 a.m
– Lunch from 1 p.m – 3 p.m
– Dinner from 9 p.m – 11 p.m
– Meals will be served in disposable plastic containers. You can either use those as it is or use your own plate.
– All meals are prepared as per general public taste. Therefore, they will be oily.
– Ask server to pour only the amount you need to eat. Please avoid wasting food.
– A small table near serving area will have plastic cutlery, tissue & salt or sugar available.
– Seasonal fresh Fruits, Juices, Laban (lassi) or Yogurt will be served daily at lunch and dinner. One for each person.
– Avoid taking serving trays to your room. When you need to take your meal to rooms, use empty cardboard juice containers (available with serving staff) as trays.
– Follow the line & wait.
– First hour of meal times will always be crowded.
– If an elderly companion finds it difficult to chew provided naans at cafe, buy arabic roti or brown bread from nearby shops. One set will last you 3 to 4 meals.
– Lifts will be crowded during meals first hour & prayer times.
– For eating out, all international food chains are available around the main gates of Haram, near clock tower & on main roads of Azizia. If your residence at Azizia is not near the main artery than Turkish cuisine restaurants around the block are good to go.
– Right after settling down, ask receptionist to provide you the business / hotel card of your building. It will be printed with the actual name of the hotel & a map to reach it. Give one to each family member.
– Take a photo of your building from a distance, in which name of the building is clearly visible and share it with your family members.
– Keep an eye at the notice board on ground floor and surrounding walls of the reception regularly. All important announcements will be pasted there.
– Do not crowd the lifts. Usual limit is 6 persons at a time.
– For sim activation; Zain facility centers are easily accessible at Azizia as compared to Mobily. Mobily center is near clock tower, opposite Bab-e-Fahad.
People from all ethnic & economical backgrounds will be staying in the same building. Practice patience & empathy at all times. Do not misbehave with helpers and cafe staff over petty stuff. They are working round the clock only for your convenience.
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