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 km north of Munnar through the Udumalppetta route, Marayoor is the only place in Kerala that has natural sandalwood forests. Ancient dolmens and rock paintings in Marayoor tell the story of a muted history dating back to the Stone Age. Marayoor has a population of 10,590.
The name Marayoor is said to be derived from two words “mara” and “oor”, in Tamil and Malayalam 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 meant 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.