How to Observe Vratham for Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple

The Vratham or Vrata for visiting Sabarimala Ayyappa Sannidhanam or Swamy Ayyappa Temple starts on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrichikam (this year on 17th November 2023) and culminates on Mandala Pooja Day (27th December 2023) or Makara Sankranti day (15th January 2024). 

On observing this Sabarimala Vratham (austerities), the mind and soul get purified as the devotees undertake certain practices and cleanliness. Here are some of the customs and rules of the austerities. For those who cannot start vrata on the first day of Vrishchika can start on any other day.

Vratham for Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple

Maladharanam – Wearing of Mudhra Mala

The Sabarimala Ayyappa Vratha is marked by the wearing of "Thulasi Mala" (garland) or "Rudraksha Mala”, bearing the locket of Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala Temple. The temple priest or Guru Swami / Periya Swami instigates the Mudra Mala to the devotee (Maaladharanam), by chanting mantra or simply “Swamy Saranam”. Guru Swamy or Periya Swamy is an Ayyappan devotee who has completed 18 successive years of Sabarimala pilgrimage and he guides others for the pilgrimage. The garland is to be obtained after sanctification in a temple / pooja room. 

Devotees offer "Dakshina" to the concerned priest. Subsequent to this ritual, the devotee wearing the "Mala" is called as "Ayyappan" or "Swamy" and the female (aged between 1 and 9 OR above 50 years) devotees are called as "Malikapuram" (who is the Shakti of Lord Ayyappa).

Maladharanam – Wearing of Mudhra Mala

Mantra for wearing Mudhra Mala Dharan can be found here

Below are the austerities and rules that are to be followed for taking the Ayyappa Sannidhanam pilgrimage

1) On the day before starting the vratham, the devotee has to shave, trim his nails and hair and make himself clean. The Thulasi Mala or Rudraksha Pendants should be cleaned and smeared with sandal paste and placed before the image of Lord Ayyappa. Only a new pair of colored (black, blue and saffron) dhoti and towel/shawl is to be used by the devotee. 

2) During the Sabarimala Vratam, the devotee should wake up early in the morning, offer prayers and perform pooja to the holy mala. Also, he should not apply oil to his hair and shall not make oil smeared over his body.

3) The devotee of Ayyappa Swami shall not take part in any of the social activities. He shall spend his time only by prayers, poojas, visiting temples and helping the poor/needy.

4) The devotee should consume only satvic foods (vegetarian diet) and abstain from non-vegetarian, alcoholic drinks or drugs, chewing betel leaves and from smoking.

5)  Taking bath twice/thrice daily and performing puja by chanting 108 Ayyappan Saranams form part of the austerity. Apart from Ayyappa Saranams, devotees can chant Ayyappa Gayatri Mantra, Ayyappa Ashtottara Stotram, Loka Veeram Mahapoojyam Ayyappa Namaskara Sloka or any other mantras and prayers of Lord Ayyappa.

6) He should not hurt anybody either verbally or physically, and consider all co-devotees as Lord     Ayyappan himself.

7) The Swami should not feel proud for the respect he gets during his observance for the pilgrimage.

8) The devotee should not in any way cause trouble to his family members because of his vratham.

9) He should practice pure Brahmacharya (celibacy) in his deeds, words and thoughts, during the pilgrimage period. Only vegetarian food and fresh fruits are to be consumed. He should sleep only on the floor, avoiding pillows. Some devotees do not use footwear so as to make their feet adjusted to climb the Sabarimala hills barefooted.

10) The Swami shall avoid himself from the proximity of dead body. If he happens to see one, he shall not eat anything until he takes bath.

11) It is always better to carry a Thulasi leaf to prevent him from evil spirits and from impurities.

It should be remembered that the blessings of Lord Ayyappa would reflect on those who strictly follow these rules.

How to observe Vratham for Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa!!
Harihara sudhane Saranam Ayyappa!!



  1. Now a days sabarimala temple open for 10 days from every first day of malayalam months.
    Devotee must try to avoid sleep with his partner for 41 days.
    Avoid all contact with ladies who is under their period days.
    Take bath at early morning in cold water.
    Avoid veg fast foods,oily foods. Use more veg salads, sprouted beans, boiled veggies + rice.
    Try to do yoga asanas, meditations,pranayamas at least 2 time a day.

  2. 12. On saturdays the devotees are recommended to have one time rice food.
    13. Temple visits twice a day after the pooja at home
    14. before consuming any food lord ayyappa should be remembered by chanting as "annadana prabhuve sharanamayyappa" and then take food.
    15. Even the slightest mistakes should be confessed to lord ayyappa.
    16. Make sure the mala is never removed during the vratha period & take cautions from breaking.

    Swamiye Sharanamayyappa
    Swamiye Sharanamayyappa

    1. Wearing mala , can we visit hill temples like thirupathi ???

  3. HI...
    I am working in Hospitality industry i want to shave daily, after i warring the Ayyappa Garland shall i shave. I ask my neighbor they telling no....
    kindly pls any body guide me for this...........

  4. To all my friends,

    I am a great devotee of Lord Ayyappa, and it was the Lord himself who saved me from all difficulties in my life. But he also gave so many difficulties as of my karma, especially hating him just in the name of an incident. How foolish I was! He made me intelligent and now he encourages me to study more. I will surely once visit Sabarimala.

    1. Wow this is beautiful :)
      We often misunderstand God's plan because of our lack of faith. But His ways are always better than ours!
      Hope your studies went well, and I'm sure you will visit Sabarimala sooner or later :)
      Stay blessed!

  5. Ganesh - Work is workship. If shaving is mandatory at work I would suggest that you just be on fasting. Do follow fasting except for having the mala and not shaving. Have the mala just on the day of the pilgrimage. Purity in mind is what counts.

  6. Some comments like "should not apply oil" "should wear brand new dothi" are not true. There are many people misguiding and enforcing unwanted rules. Simplicity and purity is what is required. Soap and shampoo were not available those days so nobody used it. That does not mean we should not be using them.

  7. Yes. But that gentleman might have insisted about the devotees should not make up themselves. That's mean no " alangaram " should be performed

  8. What to do if the mala breaks.

  9. Sir pls advice how many days of fasting should taken for kanni maligapuram and her fathet who going with her.

  10. Can I go to tirumala after wearing mala for sabbatical. Before going to sabarimala

    1. Yes you can...there is no such restriction

    2. Am wearin mala now ,before gng sabarimala can i visit thirupathi temple

    3. Yes, you can go, not a problem for that....

  11. Third year taking bell
    Fifth year what

  12. Hi,
    My daughter (9 years old) is planning to visit Sabrimala Temple. I have few questions:
    1. When I am under my menstruation cycle, i may not cook, someone else may do the cooking, but am I allowed to remain in the house, use same washroom, utencils, etc. ?
    2. Is she allowed to touch me during that time? I am an adult, I can refrain myself, but how can a child?
    3. Am I allowed to wash her clothes?

  13. Hi, am also taking vretham for going shabarimala. But i am working in abroad and today by mistakenly i eat a nonveg content which mix with the vegeteriqn food. I don't know what should i do after that. And i dont't know my vretham broken by mistakenly eat that food. Help me

  14. Ayyappa deeksha lo unnapudu nidra lo skhalisthe deeksha viraminchalaa


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