There are 2 types of Umrah.
One type of Umrah is performed independent of a Hajj pilgrimage.
The second type of Umrah is associated with a Hajj pilgrimage.
There are many travel agencies that manage Umrah. Some have feedbacks and you can learn from the feedback and make your own decisions.
Nurhikmah Travel & Tours.
Details of Umrah from Wikipedia: (edited)
The Umrah or (Arabic: عمرة) is a pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year, except for the forbidden times. In Arabic, Umrah means "to visit a populated place". As a technical term used in the Sharia, Umrah means to perform Tawaf round the Kaaba and Sa'i between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, after assuming Ihram (a sacred state), either from a Miqat like Zu 'l-Hulafa, Juhfa, Qarnu 'l-Manāzil, Yalamlam, Zāt-i-'Irq, Ibrahīm Mursīa, or a place in Hill. It is sometimes called the 'minor pilgrimage' or 'lesser pilgrimage', the Hajj being the 'major' pilgrimage and which is compulsory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. The Umrah is not compulsory but highly recommended.
The pilgrim performs a series of ritual acts symbolic of the lives of Nabi Ibrahim a.s. (Prophet Abraham) and his second wife Hajar, and of solidarity with Muslims worldwide. These acts of faith are:
- Perform a tawaf "طواف", which consists of circling the Kaaba seven times in an anticlockwise direction. Men are encouraged to do this three times at a hurried pace, followed by four times, more closely, at a leisurely pace.
- Perform a sa'i "سعي", which means rapidly walking seven times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah. This is a re-enactment of Hajar's frantic search for water. The baby Ismail (Ishmael) cried and hit the ground with his foot (some versions of the story say that an angel scraped his foot or the tip of his wing along the ground), and water miraculously sprang forth. This source of water is today called the Telaga Air Zamzam (Well of Zamzam).
- Perform a halq or taqsir, meaning a cutting of the hair. A taqsir is a partial shortening of the hair, whereas a halq is a complete shave of the head, except for women, as they cut a little amount of hair instead.
Various sects of Islam perform these rituals with slightly different methods. [Not explained in Wikipedia.]
The peak times of Umrah pilgrimage are the days before, during and after the Hajj and during the last ten days of Ramadan - the last 10 days of Lailatul Qadr.
Types of Umrah
There are two types of Umrah, depending on whether one wishes to combine the Umrah with Hajj:
- al-Umrat al-mufradah al-mustaqillah 'an al-Hajj (al-Umrat al mufradah) and
- al-Umrat al-mundammah ila al-Hajj (Umrat al-tammatu).
al-Umrat al mufradah refers to Umrah that is performed independently of Hajj.
Umrat al-tammatu refers to Umrah that is performed in conjunction with Hajj. More precisely, the rituals of the Umrah are performed first and then the Hajj rituals are performed.