When we think of the most coveted and for many, once-in-a-life-time journey, to the 'Hajj',  we often consider only the honor and the perks that go with the experience. Many of us only see the benefits, like the dates and holy water (zam-zam) that smiling pilgrims proudly carry home to share.
The Eid that directly follows the Hajj time , known as Eid al Adha (or Feast of Sacrifice), brings to mind only the sacrificed sheep and the cheery celebrations. But there is another side to the pilgrimage and the sacrifice and a trip to Mecca can top the financial scales for many a potential pilgrim.
In the first place, a successful application through the bureaucratic lottery of securing a Hajj permit, directly involves dishing out sums of money and time (away from work or family) to make the dream come true.
Next up comes the transportation both getting there and getting around. And the cost of Hajj varies depending on which country you are setting off from. In Egypt, where the average annual salary is $6,600, a pilgrim pays anything from $2,740 to $4,590. The UAE is one of the dearer places to be a pilgrim, costing up to $41,000.
On this most spiritual of journeys, the practical progress of the pilgrim is often overlooked so this Eid, we investigate the ways to short-cut, fast-track and get you to Mecca post-haste.
Share your thoughts on the Hajj and the sacrifice-- have you tried it? Are the spiritual gains worth the practical costs of the dream trip? Would you do it all again?