Every pilgrim to Sabarimala has to follow the practices (vratam) for 41 days. Mandala Vritham starts of by wearing beads (mala) made of “Mandara drumam” or “Rudrasham” or “Palungu” with a locket of Sri Ayyappa or a bell. The ritual is usually done in any Hindu temple in the presence of a “Guru swamy”. Though this function can be performed on any day, Saturday or Uthram day is considered as the most holy day for this “malayidil.
From the time a devotee wear an Ayyappa mala, he is called an Ayyappan and has to follow a holy life. He should be a vegetarian and practice abstinence during the vritham period.