Annual Pilgrimage Begins in Saudi Arabia a Year After Deadly Stampede

Pilgrims seem undeterred by a stampede last year that killed thousands.

The five-day pilgrimage is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.

Participation in the hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is viewed as an opportunity to wipe clean a slate of past sins and start fresh. All able-bodied Muslims must perform the five-day pilgrimage once in their lifetime.

In 2006, more than 360 people were killed in a stampede in the same area. Another one occurred in 2004, leaving 244 dead and hundreds injured.

Pilgrims this year seem unperturbed by last year's disaster as they embark on the same journey which Islam teaches the Prophet Muhammad took some 1,400 years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.