Tradition of Sabarimala
The king then thought and felt that Manikandan was now old enough to become king, but this was opposed by the prime minister. The prime minister plotted along with the queen , who now had a child of her own. The queen acted ill, and said that only the mild of a tigress can make her feel good. Hence Manikandan set out to the forest to get the milk. On the way he killed the female demon (Mahishi), who used to terrorize the devas.
Lord Shiva then appeared before him and asked him to return to the palace as a tiger, while even the devas would accompany him in the form of tigers and tigresses. Looking at this the folks in the palace were stunned. The yogi then appeared before the king and revealed to the king the true origin of Lord Manikanda. The king then fell at Lord Manikandan’s feet and requested him to return back to the palace and to return the animal to the forest, as the queen was feeling a lot better now.
Manikandan was twelve at this stage. He however told the king that his earthly sojourn is now over. The king then asked Lord Manikandan to indicate the place where the temple for him should come up. Lord Manikandan then cast an arrow which fell upon the place named Sabari. The king constructed the shrine at Sabari taking the instructions from sage Agastya, and sage Parasurama installed the idol of Manikanda here. Lord Manikandan stated that he would bless only those devotees who observed a 41 day vratha and isolated themselves from samsara and practices Brahmacharya (celibacy), and also bathed and kept themselves clean.
Clean in body as well as mind and also carried the holy irumudi as Lord Manikandan did when he went to the forest. They should also utter “saranam” when climbing the 18 steps. The irumudi is a bag with two compartments, one contains the personal belongings of the devotee and the other contains coconuts filled with ghee and other materials for the Lord’s abishekam.