A picture of a pilgrim has become an instant hit on Saudi social media amid claims that he had the longest beard.

Bloggers said that they believed that the beard was about 50cm long and gave the pilgrim a highly remarkable look.

The man, who was not identified, is one of the three million Muslims expected to congregate in and around Makkah in western Saudi Arabia for the Haj pilgrimage season, which starts on Sunday and ends six days later.

All physically fit and financially able Muslim men and women are expected to perform Haj at least once in the lives.

Many of the pilgrims would have waited for years to be able to go on Haj as national quotas restrict the number of those who can perform the annual rituals from each country.

Asian countries have traditionally provided the largest number of pilgrims.

Saudi media regularly report emotional stories of men and women who sold some of their belongings or made huge sacrifices in order to save enough money to make the spiritual trip.

source: gulfnews