Nestled in the mountain ranges of the picturesque Western Ghats, Sabarimala Temple, about 150 km from Kochi, is a popular pilgrimage site. The temple is set amidst 18 hills and is surrounded by lush forests. It is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa and vehicles are allowed only till Pamba, after which devotees have to walk 5 km. The temple remains open to devotees during mandala kaalam or the pilgrim season that is in mid-January. It is said that around 50 million devotees visit the temple during this time. The temple complies to strict rituals, dress codes, practices and preparations that devotees need to follow. They need to dress in black or blue dhotis/mundus and wear black rudraksha beads around their necks. They also have to abstain from alcohol and non-vegetarian food and take a vow of celibacy 40 days before their pilgrimage.

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