Ayappan Pattu is a ritual performed by devotees of Lord Ayyappa. Also known as Sastha Pattu and Udukupaattu, the pilgrims embarking on a journey to Sabarimala perform Ayappan Pattu in their houses and temples. The song begins after striking a rhythmic beat called Ganapati talam on the ‘udukku’. The percussion instrument ‘udukku’ is a small bifacial vessel drum. It is held in the left hand and struck by the right hand. Ilathalam (cymbal) is also played.
The songs rendered are based on the legends of the Pandalam king and Lord Ayyappa, besides songs of Devasuram war and Palazhi Madhanam are also sung. The devotees also dance to the tune. In some parts of Kerala, they jump into burning coal.
Ayappan Pattu is lavishly performed in some places and is known as Ayappan vilakku. Devotees enact on stage the role of Ayappan and Vavar. War-scenes are also staged.