In a village in the eastern side of the Nilgiri mountain ranges in the Kerala Tamil Nadu boarder, 42 kilometers from the Munnar hill station, lies the remnants of an untold history.
The name of this village is Marayoor and the remnants of the stone age civilization spread across the undulations of Marayoor’s terrain is called Dolmens. In the local language the dolmens are called ‘muniyara’ which means shelter of sadhus. Archiological studies suggests that these structures dates back to the stone age. In fact, there are two theories floating around about the origin of the ‘dolmens’. One theory says that these dolmens (muniyaras) are built by the sadhus/yogis hundreds of years ago as a shelter. The second theory believes that these were actually tombs which were constructed thousands of years ago in the BC. That said, there are no official studies conducted about the history and the characteristics of the dolmens by the central or state governments and there are no official papers published by any government body.
Most of the dolmens in this area have common characteristics in the design department. Most of them are built using four slabs of rock, three for the sides and the third slab placed on top of these three as a roof. Some of them uses 5 rock slabs, the 5th one as front wall with an opening as entrance.
In the last decade the information about Marayoor dolmens where spread by various tour operators and as a result tourists who visited Munnar also went to Marayoor to have a glimpse of the remnants of these historical structures. Now the Dolmens of Marayoor is well known in the travel and tourism industry and each year a large number of tourists visit this place.
Although the dolmens are spread across a large area of the Marayoor Panchayath there are only very few places where its accessible by road. If you plan to visit these, the best location would be a village by name “Kovilkadavu” in the Marayoor Kanthalloor route (47 km from Munnar). In Kovilkadavu, on both sides of the river ‘Pambar’ you could see a large number of dolmens. Also, after Kovilkadavu village in this route within another 2 km there is another small village by name “Pius Nagar’. Here you could see a number of dolmens within 200 meters from the main road.
If you are not interested in seeing historical structures, probably its not worth the 2 hours of travel from Munnar. If this is just a tick mark in the sight seeing list prepared by your travel agent, you should think twice before going to Marayoor for just seeing the dolmens. The climate in Marayoor is entirely different from Munnar and you may not feel like you are in a hill station.
That said, if you plan to visit Kanthalloor, another well known tourist place in the region, these dolmens are on the way to Kanthalloor and you could take a pit-stop at ‘Pius Nagar’ to have a look at these historical structures. Or if you are planning to visit the natural sandalwood forests of Marayoor, its worth the additional 5 kilometers travel to see the dolmens.
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