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Significance of Sabarimala Yatra / Pilgrimage:
Sabarimala pilgrims have to observe several austerities and regulations to undertake the pilgrimage.
The vratham can be undertaken only after getting permission from one's parents and Guru. It should be undertaken in such a manner as to cause no inconvenience to one's family. The day before the vratham begins one has to offer prayers to ones' family deity and present a yellow cloth with coins within to the family deity. This vratham is called as Manala Vratham as generally the vratham is observed for 48 days. The devotee must keep away from all social activities and spend his time praying and singing bhajans and in worthy causes like visiting temples, cleaning temples, feeding the poor, helping the poor and sick and attending religious discourses.
- The devotee should also buy a new pair of coloured dhoti and towel or shawl.
- The holy garland should be cleaned and smeared with sandal paste and placed before the portrait of Lord Ayyappa.
- On the day of the vratham the devotee rises early, bathes, prays to the family deity and performs a pooja to the holy mala. He will be accompanied to the temple by his Guru and recieve his mala from him.
- Wearing the mala denotes that the devotee becomes Lord Ayyappa and must thus lead a pious life.
- He must eat only vegetarian food and abstain from meat, physical or verbal violence, alcohol and tobacco and intoxicants in any form.
- The devotee must sleep on the floor, use a wooden block for a pillow and walk barefeet.
- The devotee is obligated to treat all co-devotees as Lord Ayyappan and serve them in every way.
- He must be humble despite the respect and privileges accorded to him as a Sabarimala pilgrim.
- The devotee must treat all women like his mother and strictly follow celibacy.
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