By Hindustan Times
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan left for Haj pilgrimage with his mother Zeenat Hussain to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Khan left from Mumbai on Friday night. The pilgrimage came in between the hectic schedule of the promotion of his much-awaited forthcoming crime thriller Talaash.
As one of Islam's five pillars, the Haj is enjoined on all Muslims who are physically able to carry it out. The grand mosques in Mecca and Medina, the two holiest in Islam, draw millions of pilgrims annually.
Home to Islam's holiest sites, Saudi Arabia regards itself as the guardian of Islam and assumes the responsibility of maintaining a peaceful Haj season when Muslims from various sects gather at the same place and time.
Haj starts on the eighth day of the lunar month of Dhul Hijja, most pilgrims come earlier to visit the holy mosques in Mecca and nearby Medina, where the prophet Muhammad was buried over 1,400 years ago.
Among the rites they must perform during the three-day pilgrimage, hajis must walk seven times around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped building at the centre of the Grand Mosque, pray at nearby.
The completion of Haj is the celebration of Eid Al Adha, which falls on October 26, 2012 (plus or minus one day) depending on the country.