Marayur Sandalwood and Stone Age Civilization

Marayur is known for the Dolmens  and Stone Age Civilization.  Marayur or Marayoor is also famous for its natural sandalwood. It is situated in the state of Kerala, India.

Marayur, the Sandalwood and the Stone Age Civilization

Dolmens of Marayoor.

The ancient unique Dolmens and rock paintings found here indicates that civilization of Marayur dates back to 10000 B.C.  It is also proof for the petroglyph skills which existed in the Stone Age Civilization days. Its the confluence of  history, culture and wilderness at Marayoor.

Sandalwood Santalum album forest, Marayoor, Kerela

Sandalwood forest near Marayoor

The Dolmens which belong to the Iron age and the caves, rock edicts, engravings, etc,  tells us the history and the rich heritage of Marayoor.  Rock paintings at Attala, in the western Marayor, has more than 90 paintings in rock, most of which are abstract designs, except for a few paintings which depicts humans and animals.  There is a rock painting of a man and a deer in the nearby Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. A new rock painting was recently discovered near to this painting.

Marayur has around 100 species of flowering plants, including medicinal plants. Sandalwood is a  highly aromatic wood, used for scents and perfumes and for herbal medicine. Processing of Sandalwood and the Sandalwood oil is the major local industry. Sandalwood oil, otherwise called Liquid Gold for its high price, is extracted from the roots and the wood of the Sandalwood tree.

Marayur Heritage Safari

Munnar wildlife division of Kerala Forest department offers Marayur Heritage Safari. It is a Jeep safari. 3 hour package costs INR 3500 for 6 persons. It covers 5 locations. Another package which covers 10 locations in 6 hours is charged INR 5000 for 6 persons.

How Do I Go to Marayur?

Marayur Town is in Idukki district of Kerala state. It is  well connected by roads to other parts of Kerala and the neighbouring state, Tamilnadu. Marayur is at 42 kilometers north of Munnar Hills, on the Aluva – Munnar- Udumalpet road, i.e. on the Kerala State Highway 17. Anamalai, the highest peak in southern India, is located close to Marayur.

Palani Railway station is the nearest one at around 68 kilometers distance. This is not on the main line and the  nearest major mainline station is Coimbatore, at around 115 kilometers distance. Another major railway staion, Ernakulam Junction railway station, is at around 156 kilometers distance. Aluva railway station (near Kochi) is  at around 144 kilometers distance. Kottayam railway station is at around 168 kilometers distance.

Cochin International airport at around 145 kilometers distance and Madurai Airport at around 169 kilometers distance are the nearest airports to Marayur.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Pambar River in Chinnar wildlife sanctuary
Pambar River in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is in Idukki District of Kerala State in India. It is a protected area as per government order. It is bounded on one side by Eravikulam National Park and other sides by Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is part of Anamalai ranges in Western ghats. The Chinnar River and River Pambar are the major water resources in the sanctuary.

34 species of Mammals live in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, which includes  Panthers,Tigers ,Indian Elephants, Gaur,  Sambar Deer, Spotted deer, Common langur, Bonnet Macaque,  threatened Nilgiri Tahr, Hanuman monkey, vulnerable Rusty-spotted Cats. The Sanctuary has about 240 numbers of the most vulnerable Grizzled Giant Squirrels as per the  last count.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is heaven of  fauna. Many species of  birds including Bulbulls are there among the 245 species of birds found here. Reptile species inside the park number around 52, which includes 29 species of snakes. Endangered species of Indian Star Tortoise are found here. Also found are the largest population of vulnerable Mugger Crocodiles in the state.  Many species of fishes including endangered hill stream game fish Deccan Mahseer are found among those 42 fish species here. Amphibian species of 22 varieties are found in the  Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. Butterfly species number 156.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is also rich in flora. Flowering plants of 965 species are found here. Marayoor Sandalwood, a rare sandalwood, is found in large numbers here.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary
Thoovanam Waterfalls

Thoovanam waterfalls is a major waterfall inside the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a forest department log house (available to public for rent), situated close to this falls.

Trekking, Walking along the river banks, etc, are allowed.

How Do I Go to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary?

Nearest town is Devikulam in Idukki District, which is well connected by roads to other nearby cities of Kerala and Tamil Nadu states. Nearest airport is Cochin International airport at Nedumbrassery. The nearest major railway stations are Kottayam, Cochin and Aluva,

Accommodation inside Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Forest department offers log houses, tree house and a concrete cottage (each costs rupees 3000) and a mud house (costs rupees 4000) inside Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.