One could say that the tradition of painting on walls began in Kerala with the pre-historic rock paintings found in the Anjanad Valley of Idukki district. Archaeologists presume that these paintings belong to different periods from the upper Paleolithic period to the Early historic period. Rock engravings dating to the Mesolithic period have also been discovered in two regions of Kerala, at Edakkal in Wayanad and at Perimkadavila in Thiruvananthapuram district.
It is not difficult to trace the roots of the Kerala mural styles to the more ancient Dravidian art of Kalamezhuthu. This was a much more fully developed art form connected with religious rituals. It was [is] a ritual art of sprinkling and filling up different colored powders inside outlines sketched with the powder.
The roots of the extant mural tradition of Kerala could be traced as far back as the 7th and 8th century AD. It is not unlikely that the early Kerala murals along with its architecture came heavily under the influence of Pallava art. The oldest murals in Kerala were discovered in the rock-cut cave temple of Thirunandikkara, which is now in the Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu.