Come December, in fact end November itself and there is a flurry of devotees ready to go to Sabarimalai.
With my very limited understanding, this is an austere commitment to stay off "vices", even tame things such as certain foods. The idea being to cleanse your system and show true and single mined devotion to a Bachelor Lord.
However to my chagrin, I have seen auto guys in the black veshti and beads, fleece customers and to top it all also pass lewd looks and comments at women. Being off non veg is another requirement which also gets flouted. Wearing black/saffron consistently or being bare foot is often not practical.
Do I subscribe to the whole thing- No. And this particular pilgrimage is very sexist anyway as per me. Here is a very interesting article on this.
Do beleivers need to adhere to the rules rigourously. No.
But the deviation cannot go against the spirit and sanctity of God. If God had a voice that was audible, he would have sounded hoarse with protest.