The Hajj nap pods: High-tech mobile hotel capsules spring up in Mecca so worn out pilgrims can rest and work in peace
- Mecca’s mobile pods are just over two metres long, 120cm-wide and 120cm-high
- Made from plastic and fibreglass, the space can also be used to store luggage
- Magnetic cards are used by guests to open sliding doors at the end of the pods
Miniature mobile hotel rooms are being trialled in Saudi Arabia to offer elderly or worn-out pilgrims respite from millions of fellow devotees performing Hajj in Mecca.
The stackable pods provide a low-cost accommodation ‘solution’ in crowded places including holy sites, according to Mansour Al-Amer, director of the Jajji and Mu-tamer’s Gift Charitable Association.
While the cost of staying in the 220cm-long, 120cm-wide, 120cm-high capsules has not been publicised, they can also be used to provide a space for pilgrims wishing to take a shower, change their clothes, or store luggage and valuables, reports Arab News.
The miniature hotel ‘rooms’ can be placed side-by-side or on top of each other, two units high, with a three-step staircase providing access to those on top
A Muslim Hajj pilgrim uses his laptop in his capsule room in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Tight squeeze: the pods stand just 120cm high, are 220cm long and 120cm wide
Al-Amer said: ‘The capsules will be deployed in Mina [neighbourhood in Mecca], targeting lost and elderly pilgrims who need rest and care to be able to continue to perform their rituals with ease and comfort.’
Constructed with fibreglass and plastic, the pods’ doors will open automatically during power outages, and those using them will have access to separate toilets.
Sliding doors are fitted at the end of the capsules, which guests can open by magnetic card, to ensure privacy.
Those staying in the bottom pods – the rooms can be stacked on top of each other, two units high – need to stoop to enter the miniature accommodation
Constructed with fibreglass and plastic, the pods’ doors will open automatically during power outages, and those using them will have access to separate toilets
The miniature hotel rooms can be placed side-by-side and on top of each other, two units high, with a three-step staircase providing access to the pods on top.
They will be used at holy sites, alongside pilgrims’ housing, accommodation complexes, and for workers and delegates.
One of the five pillars of the world’s fastest-growing religion, the Hajj is expected to draw two million people from around the globe this year.
Every Muslim is required to complete the Hajj at least once in their lifetime if they have the means to do so.
Two million Muslims have been gathering in Saudi Arabia this week for the Hajj, as the annual pilgrimage becomes increasingly hi-tech with apps to help the faithful navigate Islam’s holiest sites.
This year, the Saudis have launched a ‘smart hajj’ initiative, with apps to help pilgrims with everything from travel plans to medical care.
Asefny, for example, is an app launched by Saudi Arabia’s Red Crescent to help pilgrims request emergency medical attention.
A man takes a picture of Muslim worshippers performing prayers around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca
Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Authorities are able to locate those in need through the app.
The Saudi Hajj ministry also runs the Manasikana app, which provides translation for pilgrims who do not speak Arabic or English.
By Thursday, more than 1.6million people had already arrived in Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, which runs from Sunday, August 19, to Friday, August 24.
The Hajj journey begins: Stunning images show Saudi Arabia…
Hajj 2018: What is it? When is it? Everything you need to…
Share this article
Thousands have been seen arriving in Mecca, with groups from different countries wearing distinct colours to set them apart.
Some pilgrims pushed their elderly relatives on wheelchairs while others stopped to call family members back home on video chat or buy ice cream as temperatures soared above 104F (40C).
Many were visibly moved to be so close to Islam’s holiest site – the Kaaba, a black masonry cube in the centre of Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
Thousands have been seen arriving in Mecca, with groups from different countries wearing distinct colours to set them apart
With the pilgrimage starting on Sunday, Saudi officials, including from the Ministry of Health, have been double-checking that all Hajj procedures and services are in place to cope with the expected arrival of about two million pilgrims from across the globe
‘I feel as light as a feather,’ said Senegalese Fame Diouf, who travelled from Amsterdam. Laughing, she recounted the story of how she could not stop crying near the Kaaba.
‘This was my dream from childhood,’ said Raja Amjad Hussein, who made the trip to Mecca from Pakistan.
‘I can’t explain. I have no words,’ the 40-year-old told AFP.
‘For many Muslims this is the big, the biggest, dream of life, to see Kaaba and pray for yourself and the whole Muslim nation.’
Two million Muslims are gathering in Saudi Arabia this week for the Hajj, as the annual pilgrimage becomes increasingly hi-tech with apps to help the faithful navigate Islam’s holiest sites
No matter their race or nationality, for every pilgrim Hajj begins with ‘ihram’, the donning of an all-white outfit.
For men, this is a seamless tunic worn over baggy pants; for women, a loose dress with only the face and hands exposed.
Pilgrims then perform rituals around the Kaaba and on the Mount Arafat plain east of Mecca.
The Hajj ends with Eid al-Adha, a three-day feast which starts with the ‘stoning of the devil’.
Eid al-Adha also includes the slaughter of sheep, with the meat distributed to Muslims in need. The ritual symbolises Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, on the order of God.
Muslim pilgrims watch as others circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca
One of the five pillars of the world’s fastest-growing religion, the Hajj is expected to draw two million people from around the globe this year
Source: Read Full Article