Nearly 2.5 million Muslim hajj pilgrims converged on Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Movable crowd control barriers were erected all around the foot of the rocky hill outside Mecca, also known as Jabal al-Rahma or Mount of Mercy, where the faithful arrived on foot and in a seemingly endless line of buses.
Raising their palms skywards, the pilgrims set off on the climb to the summit where they held prayers to atone for their sins in a ritual that is regarded as the high point of the annual Haj.
Clutching brightly coloured umbrellas, pilgrims first braved the blazing sun and then heavy downpours that many welcomed as a blessing.
Some burst into tears as they chanted prayers.
Thousands of faithful had spent the night under the stars, sleeping on prayer rugs or pieces of cardboard.
Trucks were parked at regular intervals on the route leading up to the hill, distributing bottles of water and meals.
Thousands of workers prepared to clear the rubbish that littered the ground.
Helicopters criss-crossed overhead, part of the tight security precautions taken by the pilgrimage's Saudi hosts.
The covering cloth of the Kaaba, known as kiswa, was also changed at Masjid al-Haram in Makkah as part of a yearly ritual which takes place on 9th Zilhaj.
After sunset prayers, pilgrims made their way down Mount Arafat to Muzdalifah, another holy site where they slept under the stars to prepare for the final stage of Haj, a ritual “stoning of the devil”.
That marks the beginning of Eidul Adha, the festival of sacrifice, marked on Sunday in Saudi Arabia.