After 2 cancelled plans of going to Makkah, Alhamdulillah I managed to finally get there in the final weekend of Ramadan.
It is said that an umrah performed during Ramadan is given a reward of doing haj. Indeed, true to the reward, it was nothing like an umrah in other months. It was a real testing one... in every aspect there is - mental, physical, patience etc.
In short, expect the time and physical strength required to complete the tawaf and sa'ei to increase by 100-150%, which is by the way, about the same increment of the normal price of the fare to get there & hotel rates in Makkah. The crowd is just amazing. Imagine that pilgrims were denied entry into the mosque for Jumaat prayer about 2 hours before Zuhr time because it was full. For many, it was sitting outside in the scorching sun while fasting, waiting for more than an hour for the khutbah to begin. Alhamdulillah I got in just before they completely refuse anymore people into the mosque. But it was not easy getting a place to sit. I was standing for quite a while until 2 kind Yemenis let me squeeze in and have my own little space.
There is no doubting that the peak season has oficially started. Starting from 1st Ramadan, peaking to Eidul Adha and then ending gradually at about 2-3 weeks after 13th Zulhijjah....