Tapas itself is intensive, but the real intensive tapas for many men, children and older women is the travel to Sabarimala to have the darshan of Ayyappa – also known as the protector in Kaliyuga. They start off on an auspicious day by going to a temple and taking on a Tulsi mala, and then from this day, they have to follow a strict bramacharya vow, walking bare feet, eating once a day and keeping their mind and heart pure and chanting the name of Ayyappa. Their destination is on the banks of the Pamba river and from here they slowly move further into the deep, dense forest. 7Km before they reach their final destination, they come across various small deities and offer their prayers and move on. At Sabarimal they pray to the Karuppannaswamy who guards the 18 steps leading to the main God. The 18 steps represent the 18 siddhars and slowly the pilgrim comes to the sanctum sanctorium and prays to Lord Ayyappa.