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Marayoor is one of the famous tourist spots in the Idukki District of Kerala state, South India. It is the land where nature, history and culture merge harmoniously into tourism. 42 kilometers north of Munnar through the Udumalppetta route, Marayoor is the only place in Kerala that has natural sandal wood forests. Ancient dolmens and rock paintings in Marayoor tell the story of a muted history dating back to the Stone Age. In 1991 Marayoor had a population of 9,590.
The name Marayoor is said to be derived from two words “mara” and “oor”, in Malayalam and Tamil languages. “mara” means “cover” or “hidden” and “oor” means land. Legend has it that the great Pandavas of Mahabharata epic, had stayed in the area during their exile and so the place was named as ‘Maranjirunna oor’ or the land where they remained hidden. Later it became the land’s name “Marayoor.”
Another argument is that the name Marayoor is derived from the words “mala” and “oor”, “mala” means mountain and “oor” means land, hence it was meant to be “the land of the mountains”, as the land is surrounded by mountains. Some scholars toyed with the idea that it can be both “mara” and “mala” as the name Marayoor could be also interpreted as the land hidden by the mountains. It is a rain shadow area.
The terrain is highly undulating with altitudes ranging from 500 m at Chinnar to over 2300 m at Nandala malai, and the same varying topography can be observed in Marayoor with mountains, rain forests, deciduous forests, riparian forests, scrub forests, brooks, paddy fields, rivers, waterfalls, rocky hills, sholas and hamlets. Natural vegetation includes tropical evergreen forests and grasslands. Soil type is forest loam with high organic matter content.
There is a rock painting at Manala in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary of Marayoor near the Alampetty tribal settlement. Here, a picture of a deer and a man can be seen. In close proximity to this art site, a new rock painting has been newly discovered.
For more information on the land of mountains, log on to marayoortourism.com
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