A pilgrimage to Sabarimala is all about the test of senses. Pilgrims are expected to lead a simple pious life known as ‘Vrutham’ for the successful completion of the pilgrimage.
Ideally, ‘Vrutham’ starts from the day when the pilgrim adorns a chain (Mala in Malayalam) denoting willingness to undertake austerity. This ritual is known as ‘Malayideel’ in local parlance.
The devotee may wear a bead chain with the locket of Sree Ayyappan. Once the chain is worn, the devotee has to lead a life free of worldly pleasures.
Vices such as smoking and alcohol use are also a strict no-no. The pilgrim is also required to lead a life of conjugal abstinence.
Religious practices mandate that the Mala should be accepted after prayers from a temple priest or a Guruswami – a person who has completed 18 Sabarimala pilgrimages.
Alternatively, the Mala may be also worn in the prayer room/place of one’s own home.
The Mala may be taken off after the completion of the pilgrimage.