It's the time of the year when devotees of Lord Ayyappan conduct strict prayers in preparation to visit his famous abode in Sabarimalai, Kerala.

It is believed that devotees who undergo the tough penance and seek Lord Ayyappan's blessings in the temple will have their wishes come true.

Since Lord Ayyappan is a Brahmachari, only male devotees are allowed to visit his temple in Kerala. Thus, if you're a guy keen on taking up the penance, these are some of the rules and regulations you have to follow:

The Ayyappan viratham (fasting) is usually taken days to months before the tough Sabarimalai journey. But how long should one take the penance before visiting the temple?

In past days, a 60-day penance was taken by our ancestors, but nowadays a 48-day viratham is sufficient to put good habits into practice.

During the penance, devotees must wear kaavi clothings, apply vibuthi, kungumam and santhanam on the forehead, and refrain from wearing shoes. However, an exception can be given for working adults who don't have a choice while going to work.

While some of the rules are meant to mentally and physically prepare devotees for the dangerous Sabarimalai journey, some rules were meant to mould devotees into developing and practicing good habits in their daily lives.

Watch the video to know more about the dos and don'ts of Ayyappan viratham: