Marayur or Marayoor is a place in Kerala state, South India. 42 kilometers north of Munnar through the Udumalppetta route, Marayur is the only place in Kerala that has natural sandalwood forests. Ancient dolmens and rock paintings in Marayur date back to the Stone Age. As of 1991 Marayur had a population of 9,590.[1] Etymology The most probable meaning of the place name is the Uru (Village) of Maravars; a tribe lived in this area during the turn of Christian Era, who used to attack travelers for looting, hiding in the forest. The word meaning is 'people who hide'. They were traditionally members of the army of tribal chiefs and the Maharajas of Chera, Chola and Pandya. The name Marayur is also said to be derived from two words “mara” and “ur”, in Malayalam and Tamil languages. “mara” means hidden and “ur” means land. Another argument is that the name Marayur is derived from the words “mala” and “ur”, “mala” means mountain and “ur” 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 Marayur could be interpreted as the land hidden by the mountains.[citation needed] 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 ur’ or the land (they) hide. Later it became the land’s name “Marayur.”
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