The first batch of 401 pilgrims today left for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

"Two special flights carrying 401 pilgrims left Srinagar International Airport within a span of two hours, marking the commencement of departure of pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir for Haj pilgrimage," Chairman of State Haj Committee A G Shahbaz said.

A total of 7630 pilgrims, selected through draw of lots among over 20,000 applicants, are performing the annual Haj from the state this year.

At the airport, the pilgrims were seen off by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and several of his cabinet colleagues.

Official sources said the first flight left with 201 pilgrims including 94 women while the second flight transported 200 pilgrims including 71 women.

Mr Shahbaz said two flights carrying over 400 pilgrims will take off from Srinagar every day.

The first returning flight from Jeddah will reach here on December 3 and the process will continue till all the pilgrims return, he said.

About the facilities at the Haj House, Mr Shahbaz said barring immigration check, all other facilities are available at the Haj house.

"The pilgrims are provided air tickets and boarding cards besides Custom clearance, security check, Medical check-up, cargo handling and currency exchange are done at the Haj House," Mr Shahbaz said.

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