EghtesadOnline: Thousands of Iranian pilgrims are getting ready to travel to Iraq in the coming weeks for the Arbaeen commemorations—one of the largest annual gatherings of Muslims in the world, which falls on Oct. 19 this year.
Accordingly, preparations have been made for road and air transportation of pilgrims.
“The transportation of pilgrims will commence on Oct. 9 and run through Oct. 25, while Oct. 16 to Oct. 21 will be the peak days,” Mehran Qorbani, the deputy head of Iran Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, said.
The pilgrims will pass through the four border terminals of Chazzabeh and Shalamcheh in Khuzestan Province, Khosravi in Kermanshah Province and Mehran in Ilam Province to travel to and return from Iraq, the official was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development's news service, according to Financial Tribune.
Mehran is the busiest border crossing during Arbaeen pilgrimage.
Each year, Muslim pilgrims from across the world flock to Iraq in the weeks leading to Arbaeen and walk toward Karbala on foot.
According to the official, 82,000 buses have been prepared for the transportation of Arbaeen pilgrims this year.
Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said three additional services have been added to Tehran-Kermanshah train route on the occasion of Arbaeen for those who need to visit Kermanshah before making the Iraq pilgrimage.
The minister noted that the capacity of the parking lot at Chazzabeh Bus Terminal has been doubled this year to accommodate the passenger traffic.
The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran'sSpokesman Reza Jafarzadeh said airline agencies can sell tickets for Arbaeen flights from Oct. 12-22.
He urged pilgrims to buy their airplane tickets form valid centers listed on www.agencylist.cao.ir, Fars News Agency reported.
Round-trip ticket prices for Tehran-Najaf flights and back as well as Tehran-Baghdad flights and back stands at 22 million rials ($191.3), while tickets for Mashhad-Najaf and back as well as Mashhad-Baghdad and back are sold at 28 million rials ($243.47). The prices are halved for one-way tickets.
Flight fares for Najaf and Baghdad routes from other provinces are the same as the ones from Tehran to Najaf and Baghdad.
Jafarzadeh estimates that about 108,000 pilgrims will use air transportation for this year’s Arbaeen pilgrimage.
Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport's new Salaam Terminal will handle the pilgrim traffic from the capital city.
Salaam Terminal is Iran’s first smart terminal designed by domestic experts and designers. The terminal has a capacity to transport five million passengers per year and increased IKIA's overall capacity by 80%.
It was officially inaugurated in June in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami.
Arbaeen, one of the world’s largest religious congregations, comes 40 days after Ashura, the anniversary of the day Imam Hussein (PBUH), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and his companions embraced martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala in the 7th century.
Pilgrims in massive numbers converge on the Iraqi city of Karbala to perform Arbaeen rituals in commemoration of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam.