Marayoor, a rain-shadow village on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, is 40 kms from Munnar on the Udumalapet road. It holds a lot of nature's blessing to be unfolded before its visitors.It's also a unique place where tourism meets adventure. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit. By travelling either from Marayur to Munnar or from Munnar to Marayur, one can feel the enchanting beauty of nature's blessing to be remembered for life time.
(40 km from Munnar): This is the only place in Kerala that has a natural growth of sandalwood trees. The sandalwood factory of the Forest Department, the caves (muniyaras) with murals and relics from the New Stone Age civilization and the children's park spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single Banyan tree are of great interest to tourists. Thoovanam Waterfall and Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.
Marayoor occupies a vast area on the slopes of the Western Ghats in Idukki district and is an important pre-historic site in Kerala. Apart from the Dolmenoid cists (Dolmenoids were burial chambers made of four stones placed on edges and covered by a fifth one called the cap stone) in Muniyara, Marayoor is famous for its natural sandalwood forests and pre-historic rock paintings.
The name Marayoor is said to be derived from two words “mara” and “oor”, in Malayalam and Tamil languages. “mara” means hidden and “oor” means land. Legend has it 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 (they) hide. 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 interpreted as the land hidden by the mountains. There is no reason to give any credit to the story regarding Pandavas. Mara means cover and Mala means mountain. As such the argument of equivalence of mara and mala is out of question
The most probable meaning of the place name is the Uru (Village) of Maravars; a tribe lived in this area during the turn of Christian Era, who used to attack travelers for looting, hiding in the forest. The word meaning is 'people who hide'. They were traditionally members of the army of tribal chiefs and the Maharajas of Chera, Chola and Pandya