Muniyara or Munimada is a megalithic monument found in the midland and coastal areas of Kerala. The caves found in Kandanassery, Kattakampal and Eyyal in Thrissur district and Chathamparambu near Feroke in Kozhikode have multiple cavities.
Bead strings with valuable gems were discovered from the caves at Chathamparambu. Some experts are of the view that Buddhist monks attained nirvana in these caves.
The caves date back to 2 or 3 BC. Historians have proved that many of such caves found in South India were the housings of Buddha and Jain monks.
Some other historians claim by that these caves were the residences of the members of the Essenes, a Judaist missionary group, that reached the state along with St. Thomas, the Apostle during the reign of Uthiyan Cheran of the Chera dynasty. According to them, these missionaries reached here during AD 68-69 and the locals called them ‘Eeshanis.’
The historians say that the Essenes sect members are believed to have hid the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ in the Qumran Caves while fleeing from the Romans during the destruction of Jerusalem. They are said to have reached Kerala later.
The Roman coins discovered from the Eyyal village were of 31 BC - AD 68. The 250 Roman coins excavated from the Essenes’ former habitat at the Jericho Valley too dated back to the same period.
The laterite caves and clay pots found at Jericho Valley and Ariyannoor in the state have striking similarities.