A Muslim man has achieved his dream after an adventurous 382-day journey to Mecca for the holy Hajj pilgrimage.
As Muslims journey to Makkah via air, sea, or road for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, a 29-year-old Kerala native has chosen an unconventional path to the holy land.
Shihab Chottur embarked on an ambitious journey on foot last year, covering a distance of 8,650 kilometres, to perform the Hajj in 2023. The remarkable trek lasted for around 382 days in total, he said in an interview with the Saudi TV channel Al Ekhbariya.
His journey began on 2 June 2022 and led him through the lands of Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait before he finally reached his ultimate destination, the holy city of Mecca, in June 2023.
His passage through Pakistan was briefly halted, however, due to a four-month delay to obtain a transit visa. In that time, Chottur said he was provided refuge at the Aafiyah Kids School in Khasa, Amritsar, Punjab.
Despite the harsh roads and obstacles faced on the months-long journey, including confrontations with predatory animals in Iran and harsh winter weather, Chottur remained committed to the mission.
Speaking to Ekhbariya, Chottur shared the details of his journey, which required carrying provisions including food, water, clothes, and wood to keep warm during the nights.
He was no stranger to challenging conditions, walking an average of 15 kilometres per day in cold weather, and stretching his limits to nearly 50 kilometres per day in better conditions.
Upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, Chottur travelled to Medina to visit the second holiest site in Islam – the prophet’s mosque and burial ground of the last prophet of Islam. He stayed in the city for 21 days before departing for Mecca.
While in Saudi Arabia, Chottur typically walked about 25-60 kilometres per day. It took him nine days to cover the 440-kilometer distance between Medina and Mecca.
Now, Chottur is awaiting the arrival of his mother Zainab, who will join him on the pilgrimage.
Chottur hopes that his incredible journey serves as a source of inspiration to others.
“With good intentions, you can overcome any challenge and achieve your goals,” he said.