Once the Madurai king Thirumalainaicker was defeated in battle by Tipu Sultan in the 18th century, his followers migrated from Tamil Nadu to the Marayur area, creating five new villages that were together called Anju Nadu (Five Lands). Marayur is famous as it contains the only natural sandalwood forests of Kerela.
There are many ancient dolmens in Marayur; in the local language, they are called “muniyaras”. They are ancient burial chambers made of four standing stones and one cap stone. The dolmens here belong to the Stone and Iron Ages.
There are various kinds of dolmens in the area; some have several burial chambers, others have underground chambers while most are overground dolmens. It has been suggested that the large dolmens with raised roofs were actually inhabited by people though why ancient people would choose to live in cemeteries has not been explained well.
Marayur heritage also encompasses ancient rock paintings; several of the paintings are abstract designs while some are of people and animals. Unfortunately, visitors have been vandalizing the ancient art since tourism started in the region.
Marayur forests house the critically endangered Aibizia Lathamii tree, the endangered Grizzled Giant Squirrel, and the rare white bison. The trees also provide “liquid gold” (sandalwood oil), which is sold all over the state.