Bait Al Hujjaj: a transit shelter for the Hajj pilgrims
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Undertaking Hajj is making a journey that takes a Muslim/Believer to the heart of Islamic Faith; to the Ka’ba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which is also considered as the house of the One God that the Muslims truly worship. The story of such a journey varies geographically, culturally and also economically from one region to another around the world. Imagining the journey to the heart of Islam from Bangladesh, the very first perception that appears is availing the various means of transport ranging from rickshaws, tempos, buses, train and other domestic ways to approach the Airport. Even though, due to the ease of travel the demand for annual Hajj pilgrimage has witnessed an overwhelming increase to astonishing figures. Evidently travelling around in Bangladesh to this date, possesses a challenging activity affecting both the physical and mental state of an individual. However, under Islamic ideology, the ritual of Hajj is an obligation only for those who are physically capable and economically solvent. Such obligation makes it the nation’s inevitable responsibility to ensure that the Pilgrims’ are physically fit and mentally stable to travel all the way to the gulf region and participate actively in world’s one of the largest religious congregation. This paper focuses on developing a transitional platform comprising of two main components; decent accommodation and efficient training facilities for the pilgrims around Chittagong District. Such development is vital considering the increasing number of pilgrims that are generated every year from Chittagong Division. Also the population of Hajjis from this region is the second largest around Bangladesh. Given that, the international airport of Chittagong only caters to the regular flights, it is unable to provide for the basic needs of the pilgrims such as place for resting, worshipping or even preparing for the ritual by means of training. Hence it appears as an immense necessity to establish an integrated accommodation and training program with approaches to relief stress and ensure healthy movement of the Pilgrims from the Chittagong District.