Covered in fog, Marayoor offers spectacular sights for tourists

Covered in fog, Marayoor offers spectacular sights for tourists

Tourists are mesmerized by the beauty of Marayoor (a town in Idukki), which is bathed in mist after the rain. It was sunny in the morning but there was plenty of afternoon showers followed by mist. It was indeed a sight to behold for the tourists who had come there for the Diwali holidays. With the fog, it became difficult for vehicles to move on the road. And it invariably led to a traffic block. Most of the tourists from the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka use this road to reach Munnar. Marayoor, which shares a border with Tamil Nadu, is just 40 km from Munnar.

Marayoor is a popular destination for trekkers and foresters alike. This is the only place in Kerala where natural sandalwood forests are found. It is estimated that there are about 65,000 sandalwood trees here. The world famous Marayoor jaggery is also produced from the sugarcane plantations here. Sugarcane plantations are spread over an area of 1,500 acres. You can stroll along the sugarcane plantations or visit a spot where they make the famed jaggery, and taste it, while it is still on the boil. There is also a Sandalwood Factory run by the Forest Department and a spectacular view of the Pampa River, which flows through the Anamudi Hills and flows through the villages of Marayoor and Kanthaloor.

If you love adventure, try a trek through deep woods to see what life is like in the high-altitude montane evergreen - the shola forests and grasslands up the hills. With ferns, lichens and orchids, the pristine shola woods remind us of a time when Nature was at its pristine best. You can also spot Nilgiri Langurs and Giant Malabar squirrels all along on your trek and will be amazed at the variety of butterflies and birds that find in this place their dearest abode.

The main attractions of the place are the two-millennium old muniarayas which are prehistoric burial chambers situated at Kovikadavu village near Marayoor. The Muniyaras or Dolmens belong to the Stone Age and are older than 10, 000 BC. More than 2,500 Muniyaras can now be seen in the entire region comprising Kanthaloor, Marayoor, and Chinnar. There are dozens of Dolmens around the area of old Siva temple, also known as Thenkasinathan Temple, at Kovilkadavu on the banks of the River Pambar and also around the area called Pius Nagar, and rock paintings on the south-western slope of the plateau overlooking the Pambar River. A lot of archaeologists from all over the world visit this fascinating place to explore the remnants of Dolmenoid cists belonging to the Megalithic age. Apart from the dolmens of the Stone Age, several dolmens of the Iron Age exist in this region especially on the left side of River Pambar.

Ezhuthala Cave is a prehistoric cave situated inside Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Marayoor. Known for its ancient rock art, it is one of the popular places to visit in Marayoor. Situated in the Sandalwood Reserve Forest in Koodakavu, Ezhuthala Cave is the most famous rock art site in Kerala. There are about 90 rock paintings located in a huge rock shelter at an altitude of 1500 m. The shelter is formed out from a huge granite rock resembling a cobra hood hence the tribal people call it Pathipara. The shelter opens to the west and is approachable from the southern side. The shelter measures 14.5 m at the base. The paintings are executed mainly in red ochre and white kaolin and are said to be one of the most beautiful depictions of the prehistoric era in the country. The superimposition of the paintings is seen here in large numbers. The main depictions are three giant humans in red ochre with border, humans engaged in different activities, different poses of animals like cattle, sambar, deer, Nilgiri Thar, etc. Scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are depicted here using natural dyes.  

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