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|Located in the foothills of the Nilgiri Hills, Coimbatore is an industrial city of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The city is an important textile-manufacturing centre in India and as such it is sometimes also called as /’Manchester of South India/’. There are more than a hundred textile mills in and around Coimbatore apart from a number of other manufacturing units, which produce engineering equipment and electronic items.
Coimbatore existed even prior to the 2nd century AD as a small tribalvillage called Kongunad. It was Karikalan, the first of the early Cholas, who brought Kongunad under Chola control in the second or third century AD. Some of the great rulers who ruled over the city were the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Pandyas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara kings. It was only when Kongunad fell to the British along with the rest of the state, its name was changed to Coimbatore.
The city’s nearness to the Nilgiri hills gives it a pleasant climate that is much cooler than the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu. Summers are hot with the maximum temperature reaching 39°C and the minimum temperature going down to 21°C. Winters are mild with the maximum temperature hovering around 30°C and the minimum temperature rarely going below 15°C. Coimbatore experiences rains in October-November, brought about by the retreating monsoons (north-eastern monsoon).
Nestled in the shadows of the Western Ghats and blessed with a pleasant climate throughout the year, Coimbatore is one of the interesting tourist spots of South India. The city has a diverse flora and fauna and its landscape is dotted with magnificent temples. The city also is a centre of a rich agricultural area and home to one of the major agricultural universities in the country. Some other attractions of the city are VOC Park, Perur Temple, Marudhamalai Temple and Forest College.
The places around Coimbatore also make interesting tourist destinations. The serene natural surroundings, picturesque locales and the diverse fauna enchant all those who move out of Coimbatore for excursions. Some of the excursion spots around Coimbatore are Siruvania Waterfalls, Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Thirumoorthy temple and Bhavani. Coimbatore also serves as entry and exit points to neighbouring Kerala and the ever-popular hill station of Udhagamandalam (Ooty).
VOC PARK AND ZOO (AMUSEMENT PARK)
Named after the famous freedom fighter V. O. Chidambaram, the VOC Park is an interesting place to visit in Coimbatore, especially if you are accompanied by kids. For the young ones, the main attractions within the park include the aquarium, which has a good collection of different species of fish, a mini zoo, and a toy train for joyrides.
The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University is one of the interesting places to visit in Coimbatore. Five kilometres away from the railway station, the university is one of the best institutions of its kind in South Asia. The university also houses a botanical garden which is the main source of attraction here. It is located towards the west of the city centre and is spread over an area of 300 hectares. The garden has a good collection of different species of flowering plants and trees.
Perur is a small town situated about 6 km from Coimbatore. Its main claim to fame is the holy Perur Temple, one of the seven Kongu Sivalayams. The outer buildings of the temple were built by rulers of Madurai in the 17th century but the inner shrine is much older. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the remarkable features here is the figure of a sepoy (Indian soldier) loading a musket carved on the base of the pillar near the entrance, wearing identical dress to that of the Aurangzeb/’s soldiers.
Located on a hillock about 12 km from Coimbatore Railway Station, the temple of Marudhamalai, dedicated to Lord Subramanya, is one of the most visited temples in the region. One of the reasons of the large number of devotees flocking the temple is that the residing deity Dandayuthapani is believed to have performed several miracles here. Thai Poosam and Tirukarthigai festivals are celebrated with great pomp and gaiety at this temple.
Located about 3.5 km north of the Railway Station, the Forest College is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the country. A visit to the College Museum is an interesting experience. This museum has an interesting collection of different minerals, rocks, pests, snakes, insects and fungal diseases that afflict plants and trees. The college also trains forest rangers.
Excursions for Coimbatore
Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated near Pollachi at a distance of around 90 km, the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary forms an interesting excursion from Coimbatore. The sanctuary, situated at an altitude of 1,400 metres in the Western Ghats, is home to different kind of animals and birds like elephant, gaur, tiger, panther, sloth bear, deer, wild bear, wild dog, porcupine, flying squirrel, jackal, pangolin, civet cat and birds like rocket-tailed drongo, re-whiskered bulbul, black-headed oriole, tree pie, spotted dove, and green pigeon. The Amaravathy reservoir in the Annamalai has a large number of crocodiles. Annamalai also has many places of scenic beauty such as Karainshola, Anaikunthi shola, grass hills, waterfalls, dams and reservoirs.
Called as Tiruveni of South India, the Sangameshwarar temple at Bhavani is situated at the confluence of the rivers Bhavani and Cauvery. The temple is an important pilgrim centre and has Lord Sangameshwarer with His consort Vedanayaki as its presiding deity. Legend has it that during the East India Company regime, William Garrow, the then Collector of Coimbatore and Salem districts, who had his headquarters at Bhavani, used to worship Goddess Vedanayaki. One night he had a dream in which the Goddess directed him to vacate his bungalow immediately. The moment he moved out, the entire bungalow collapsed. In reverence of this miracle, he presented an ivory cradle to the temple. The cradle is still present in the temple with his signature.
Thirty-seven kilometres to the west of the city is located the Siruvani waterfall and dam. One is left enchanted and spellbound by the panoramic view of the dam and the falls. And when you are there don/’t forget to taste the water of Siruvani, for the water of Siruvani is known for its minerals and taste.
About 20 km from Udumalpet on the Palani-Coimbatore Highway lies the Thirumoorthy Temple. The temple is situated at the foot of Thirumoorthy Hills adjoining the Thirumoorthy Dam. A perennial stream flows by the side of the Sri Amalingeswarar temple. The beauty of the area is enhanced by the waterfall nearby. One can also visit the Crocodile Farm at Amaravathi Dam which is just 25 km from here. The place is also being developed as a District Excursion Centre.
• Area 105.60 sq. km
• Population 8,16,321
• Altitude 43.2 m above sea level
• Languages Tamil, English
• STD Code 0422
• Best time to visit December and March