VASCO: Twenty-nine-year-old youth Shihab Chottur, a native from Malappuram, Kerala, who has set out on a walking expedition from Kerala to holy pilgrimage Mecca, arrived in Goa on Monday.
Shihab was accorded warm welcome by Muslim brethren at the Masjid at Verna after he reached Goa on the 19th day of his waking pilgrimage.
Braving rains hundreds of Muslims accompanied Shihab as he entered the Masjid with chants of `Islam Zindabad’ and other slogans rented the air so as to motive him on his challenge.
Shihab said that he started his journey to Mecca on foot on June 3 from Malappuram, Kerala and reached Verna on the 19th day on Monday.
Shihab performed Nanaz-e-Zohar at Masjid Mehboob-E-Subhani at Verna Masjid and was later felicitated by Muslim communities for his dedication and courageous act walking all the way from Kerala to Mecca with devotion.
From Goa, Shihab will proceed on foot to Gujarat and reach the Wagah border to enter Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait and finally reach Saudi Arabia next year after a foot journey of 280 days. He informed that he has Visas to enter all five countries and will apply for the Haj pilgrimage after reaching Saudi Arabia next year.
According to Shihab, the total distance from his native Malappuram to Mecca is 8,640 kilometres and the journey would take around 280 days. He plans to walk 25 kms every day. He is carrying with him basic necessities while food and accommodation will be provided by the mosques. He said that his goal is to reach Mecca just in time for the next Haj pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, inspired by Shihab Chottur, another Muslim youth Samsher from Karnataka has been accompanying him from Haldipur-Karnataka and will continue till Ajmer Sharif Shrine in Rajasthan, on foot.
Samsher, who was present at Verna Masjid said that he joined Shihab after he reached Haldipur-Karnataka on June 16.
"I decided to accompany Shihab Chottur walking to the border and visit the Holy Ajmer Sharif Shrine along with him and then return home,” said Samsher.