Pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca prior to the start of the annual Haj pilgrimage. (AFP Photo)
Jeddah: Two million Muslims from across the globe are converging on Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage, a religious duty and for some pilgrims the journey of a lifetime.
This year sees the return of pilgrims from Iran and comes with the Gulf mired in political crisis and Islamic State group jihadists squeezed in Iraq and Syria.
"I'm so excited because many people dream of coming to this place," said 47-year-old Eni from Indonesia, her face framed in a sand-coloured veil trimmed with lace.
"We feel more religious when we leave this place," she said.