Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah. 


Betty Crocker bakes cake to help Saudi Arabia to break world record

Updated 5 min 1 sec ago
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Betty Crocker bakes cake to help Saudi Arabia to break world record

  • The cake was unveiled on Sunday at Al-Andalus Mall in Jeddah
  • It measured 112 square-meters with approximately 19,600 Betty Crocker mug cakes to make it

JEDDAH: To celebrate Saudi Arabia’s 88th National Day, a new Guinness World Records title was set today by Betty Crocker for baking the Largest mug cake mosaic in collaboration with Panda Retail Company, the leading grocery retailer in the region.
The cake was unveiled on Sunday at Al-Andalus Mall in Jeddah, measuring 112 square-meters with approximately 19,600 Betty Crocker mug cakes. It took 30 bakers almost 8 hours to create the marvelous cake and decorate it by 1900 Betty Crocker cake frosting tubs that represented the Saudi 88th National Day design on top of it before Guinness World Records adjudicator, Ahmed Jamal Jaber, officially confirmed it as the Largest mug cake mosaic ever.
“We are proud to be able to garner a world record for the 2nd year consecutively, and we would like to congratulate King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and all the people of Saudi on their 88th National Day. The idea of baking the Largest mug cake mosaic marks our appreciation and admiration to the remarkable achievements of the Saudi nation as we are strongly committed to support the dreams and ambitions of the Saudi Youth,” said Ali Shaikh, Commercial Director General Mills in the Middle East.
To conform with Guinness World Records guidelines, the Largest mug cake mosaic had to meet specific requirements set by the organization. The mosaic had to measure 112 square meters or above in order to break the Guinness World Records title. The event was attended by General Mills and Panda executives, as well as by Guinness World Records officials.
After the record was confirmed, the cake was distributed to visitors at Al-Andalus Mall and also was delivered to a non-profit organization “Saudi Food Bank.”