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Friday, December 3, 2010

Mekkah Trip 03: The Grand Mosque - Masjidil Haram and the Kaabah

Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (Arabic: المسجد الحرام‎, "The Sacred Mosque") is the largest mosque in the world. The current structure covers an area of 356,800 square metres (88.2 acres) including the outdoor and indoor praying spaces and can accommodate up to four million Muslim worshippers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world.

It is difficult to describe my core feeling when I saw the Grand Mosque and the Kaabah for the first time. At first I would classify it as "trepidation". However, that is not correct term to use for the feeling that I had at that moment. There was a feeling of trepidation yet interwoven with the feeling of happiness at the same time.

Below is a picture that I took on the top floor of the Safa-Marwah Corridor looking East just after dawn with the sun just about to show itself. The people at the railing are looking down at the Kaabah. You would also note the number of cranes on the right of the picture. There is a major construction project going on that will enlarge the Grand Mosque to be even bigger.

Another picture taken on a northeasterly direction approximately 6.30 am in the morning.

This is the view of the Grand Mosque from my room at the Zam Zam Tower Hotel (room 920, on the 9th floor).

This picture (bottom) was taken on the first floor. A sea of people.

A picture of me on the third floor. I had to wear a rugby shirt (long sleeves) as the weather was surprisingly chilly.

This is what a million plus people looks like on 3 levels surrounding the Kaabah. It was an experience like no other. It was quiet as everyone focus inwards in prayer.

Another angle of the same scene. These pictures were taken approximately 7:00 am in the morning.

The skyline of Mekkah. In a few years, it will change dramatically. I was told that the Hilton Hotel, the building between the two minarets will be demolish in 2011.

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