More than two million Muslims have left Mecca to start the Hajj pilgrimage. Dressed in the traditional Ihram, made up of two white sheets, they spent the night in the tent town of Mina. From there they are to follow in the ancient footsteps of the prophet Mohamed and go to the plains of Arafat. The Hajj pilgrimage is a religious obligation; all able-bodied Muslims who have the means must complete it at least once in their lifetime.
Saudi authorities have provided extra security for the Hajj. This is to prevent stampedes that have killed many in the past. Last January, nearly 400 people were crushed to death and 250 lost their lives in similar circumstances in 2004.