Charming one and all : Coimbatore
One of Tamil Nadu’s largest cities, while Coimbatore is often referred to as the ‘Manchester of S. India’ and is famous for its various industries such as automobile spares, health care, education and textiles, it is also noted for its several shines, attractions and getaways making it an ideal location for those heading down south.
Known as Kovai in the past, the city has a rich history, ruled by several dynasties in the past that included the Cheras, Cholas, Pandavas, Vijayanagar Empire and even the Madurai Nayaks after which power fell into the hands of the British and the city’s name was changed to Coimbatore.
A major industrial hub, it is a perfect place to mix business with pleasure for its many wonderful temples that stand out with their Dravidian architecture, well landscaped gardens, forested areas, entertainment parks and more. Moreover the city also provides some wonderful excursions with many interesting destinations known for their stunning natural beauty being within close proximity.
The Perur Temple sitting on the banks of the Noyyal River is one of the most beautiful shrines here dating back by almost 1000- 1500 years. Built by Karikala Cholan, it is a storehouse of treasures housing several antique sculptures and is dedicated to Lord Patteeswarar and his consort Pachainayaki. The beautiful sanctum here can be credited to several dynasties such the Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagar Empire, its beautiful pillars and gopurams standing out for their striking Dravidian architecture. The temple is also famous for its golden hall, Kanaka Saba and its gold plated statue of Nataraja.
The Marudhamalai Hill Temple situated on a hillock is one of S. India’s most important temples as many visit it to pray to Lord Dandayunthapani and believe in the miraculous powers of the temple. Known as Arulmigu Subramaniya Swamy Thirukoil locally, this temple which dates back by approx.1200 years is dedicated to Lord Muruga.
Other important temples in and around the city include the Eachanari Vinayakar temple that dates back to 1500AD, Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple known for its natural springs, Ayyapan Temple, Ganesha Temple of Puliakulam which houses Asia’s biggest statue of Lord Ganesh, the Velliyangiri Andavar temple, Dhyanalinga Multi at the foothill of Vellingiri, Arulmigu Aranganathaswamy Thirukoil, Masaniuamman Kovil near Palakkad, Kerala and Kongunattu at Thirupathi.
While its temples stand out for their Dravidian architecture, other important places of worship here include the Infant Jesus Church located at Kovaipudur that dates back to British times, the Kottai Hidayathul Islam Safia Jamath located at Kottaimedu and Athar Jamad Masjid that is aprrox 100 years old.
Once home to Thiyagi Viswanatha Das, a great freedom fighter born in 1886 who was revered by many leaders, today his ancestral home has been converted into a memorial attracting tourists who visit the city. The Udumalai Narayanakavi Memorial is another memorial dedicated to Narayanakavi a great actor and musician who was loved by the people of the city.
Famed for its greenery and waterfalls in and around the city, some prominent areas tourists can enjoy whilst touring the city include the Kovai Kutralam falls, Vaitheki waterfalls, Monkey Falls (Pollachi), Aliyar Dam, Kodiveri Falls, Bhavanisagar Dam, Thirumurthy Dam, Cholayar Dam, Siruvani Dam, Siruvani Hills, Valparai Hills, Singanallur Lake, Salim Ali Ornithology Centre, Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Botanical Garden and the V.O.C Park.
The TNAU Botanical Garden is a wonderful garden to visit during the month of January for its Covai Flower Show; the Azhiyar Dam and Gardens situated at the foothill of the Valparai Mountains provides tourists with a scenic view of the hills, while the breathtaking hill stations of Kodaikanal, Madhumalai, Coonor, Kotagiri, and Ooty make great excursions from Coimbatore and are ideal places to experience nature at its best.
Coimbatore being famous also for its educational institutions, some of the city’s prominent landmarks include the Agricultural University one of Asia’s finest agricultural universities, the Forest College, and other educational institutions such as Kumaraguru College of Technology, Avinashilgam Deemed University of Home Science, Karunya Institute of Technology, Government Arts College and many more. The G.D. Naidu Industrial exhibition is another interesting visit established by G.D.Naidu.
The Government Museum is a great place to find out more about the history and culture of the local people, while its H A Gass Forest Museum situated within the Forest College Campus is a great place to find out about the flora and fauna of the place.
No mention of the city can be complete without a mention of its many theme parks like Ramayana Theme Park, Black Thunder etc. that provide entertainment for many visiting the city.
While the city is well connected to several other major destinations in S India by road, for those looking at visiting the city by rail or by air, the city is home to two major railway stations – the Coimbatore Junction Railway station and the Podanur Junction Railway station while the Peelamedu Airport is the nearest airport barely 10 km away from the city.
A wonderful place to shop be it for famous brands or local items, look out for Kanchivaras, textiles, jewellery, handicrafts and other items like auto spare parts. Some of the main shopping areas include RS Puram, Town Hall area, Big Bazaar Street, Raja Street, etc.
An excellent tourist spot for its many interesting excursions, the many picturesque getaways from this city add to its charm, making it one of the many charming destinations S India has to offer its tourists.