Most Muslims will have to fly to Makkah and will have put on their Ihram's before they fly, for Muslims who live close to Saudi Arabia the trip is much easier to make and can be made much more frequently with Modern transport. Most pilgrims will start Hajj already exhausted from hours of queuing to try and get out of airports already packed with other pilgrims, on average it will take one person 11 hours to negotiate customs and other authorities.
The rituals at Hajj began because Muslims believe the Prophet Ibrahim was instructed to bring his wife, Hagar and their child Ishmael to Arabia from Palestine to protect them from the jealousy of Ibrahim's first wife Sarah. Allah told the Prophet Ibrahim to leave them on their own. He left them with some supplies of food and water. However the supplies quickly ran out and within a few days Hagar and Ishmael were suffering from hunger and dehydration.
In her desperation Hagar ran up and down two hills called Safa and Marwa trying to see if she could spot any help in the distance. Finally she collapsed beside Ishmael and prayed to Allah to save them. Ishmael struck his foot on the ground and this caused a spring of water to open up. This saved Hagar and Ishmael. Now that they both had a secure water supply they were able to trade water with passing people for food and supplies. This spring is now known as the Zam-Zam well.
After a while the Prophet Ibrahim returned from Palestine to check on his family and was amazed to see them running a profitable well. The profit Ibrahim was then told to build a shrine to Allah, he built a small cube structure, now called the Ka'bah, and this was to...