The pilgrimage season in Sabarimala commences from November 14 and extends to January 19 till Makara Vilakku. During this period, millions of Ayyappa aspirants converge on the tiny temple complex from all over India. Also the temple is open for brief spells during certain Malayali festivals like Onam and Vishu. All through the year, monthly poojas are offered at Sabarimala, usually during the first of week of every Malayalam month (which actually falls in the middle of each English month); the shrine is open for the first five days of every month.
Girls who have not yet attained puberty and elderly women who have reached menopause are allowed entry into the temple. Men are expected to walk barefoot, sleep on the floor with their hair and nails uncut and refrain from self-indulgence during their 41-day vritham and journey to Sabarimala.