PANAJI: Muslims visiting Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia will now have to follow new Haj 2021 guidelines issued by the Government of India.

After Haj 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Saudi Arabia government has now restricted the entry of Haj pilgrims from different countries.

It is learnt that nearly 1.40 lakh Haj pilgrims from India used to visit Mecca every year. But now the Saudi Arabia government has restricted the number of Haj pilgrims from India to maximum 35,000.

On the other hand, the Government of India in its new guidelines has also restricted age limit due to disease on senior citizens and only those between 18 and 65 years of age will be allowed to travel.

The Union government has also reduced the points for flights to Saudi Arabia from 21 to 10. These 10 points of flights are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.

However, much would depend on whether Haj 2021 would take place in August next year.

Meanwhile, the last date to apply for Haj 2021 is December 10, 2020 and applications can be submitted online, offline or through the government’s Haj mobile app.