Modernizing Hajj? 'Nap pods' introduced for tired pilgrims


Published: 2018-08-19 15:17

Last Updated: 2021-04-14 16:09

Mansour al-Amer stands next to the new sleep pods. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)
Mansour al-Amer stands next to the new sleep pods. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Hajj is a spiritual journey that requires mental, emotional and physical effort.

The beautiful trip to Mecca can leave some pilgrims (especially older ones) feeling in need of a power nap to help them feel revived and ready to continue with their pilgrimage in full throttle.

To help some pilgrims get through the day, Saudi Arabia is introducing sleep pods in the city of Mina as soon as the next few days. Think Japan’s famous capsule hotels: that's what pilgrims can expect for a quick snooze during Hajj - clean sheets and air conditioning included!

With an estimated two million Muslims making this journey of a lifetime - which began today, August 19, and will end on Friday, August 24 - some have wondered if the 18-24 capsules provided by the Saudi charity “Haji and Mutamer Gift Charitable Association” are enough to accommodate the large number of pilgrims over the six-day Hajj.


The pods

Well, they are free to use for everyone, courtesy of the charity.

Each fiberglass pod measures three meters long and one meter high, and you will find inside it a mattress, clean sheets, air conditioning and a large, well-lit mirror.

Shipped all the way from Japan (at a cost of around $1,114 each), each person is allowed up to three hours of rest in the futuristic looking pods.

As well introducing sleep pods to the centuries-old Hajj, the government is also ensuring that no one gets lost in translation - since pilgrims flock to Mecca from all over the world - by introducing apps for on-the-spot translation.