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Coimbatore

Coimbatore (Kovai) is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu and the 15th largest urban agglomeration in India with a metropolitan population of over 2 million. It is a major commercial centre and has often been referred to as the "Manchester of South India".

The Coimbatore region has been ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, the later Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire and the Madurai Nayaks and is believed to have been named after a chieftain called Koyan. In the 17th century, the city became a part of the Kingdom of Mysore and remained so until its conquest by the British East India Company in 1799. The history of modern Coimbatore, however, dates from the 1930s, when the city grew rapidly capitalizing on a textile boom. Since then, the city has witnessed steady growth fueled by its favourable soil, climate and political and economic conditions.

Coimbatore is administered by the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation which comprises 100 wards grouped into five zones. It is situated on the banks of the Noyyal River in western Tamil Nadu and is surrounded by the Western Ghats on all sides. It is well connected by road, rail and air with major towns and cities in India.

Coimbatore is an important textile and manufacturing hub of Tamil Nadu. Other important industries include software services, education and healthcare. Coimbatore has been ranked 4th among Indian cities in investment climate by a survey done by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The city has been ranked at No. 17 among the top global outsourcing cities in a study by Tholons.

► Bangalore to Coimbatore Trains

History of Coimbatore
The region around Coimbatore was ruled by Sangam Cheras and it served as the eastern entrance to the Palakkad Gap, the principal trade route between the west coast and Tamil Nadu. The Kossar tribe mentioned in the second century CE Tamil epic Silappathikaram and other poems in Sangam literature is associated with the Coimbatore region (Kongu Nadu). Large numbers of Roman coins and other artifacts have been unearthed around Coimbatore, indicating the region's ties with Roman traders. The Coimbatore region is in the middle of the "Roman trail" that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu. The medieval Cholas conquered the Kongu Nadu in the 10th century CE. A Chola highway called "Rajakesari Peruvazhi" ran through the region. Much of Tamil Nadu came under the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire by the 15th century. The Vijayanagara reign brought new settlers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the 1550s, the military governors (Madurai Nayaks) of the Vijaynagara Empire took control of the region. After the Vijayanagara Empire fell in the 17th century, the Madurai Nayaks established their state as an independent kingdom, with other Vijayanagar offshoots forming new kingdoms in Vellore, Tanjore, Gingee, Chandragiri and Mysore. The Nayaks introduced the Palayakkarar system under which Kongu nadu region was divided into 24 Palayams.

In the later part of the 18th century, the Coimbatore region came under the Kingdom of Mysore,following a series of wars with the Madurai Nayak Dynasty.When part of Kingdom of Mysore the region was under the administration of Hyder Ali and later Tipu Sultan of Mysore. After defeating Tipu Sultan in the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the British East India Company annexed Coimbatore to the Madras Presidency in 1799. The Coimbatore region played a prominent role in the Second Poligar War (1801) when it was the area of operations of Dheeran Chinnamalai. In 1865, Coimbatore was established as the capital of the newly formed Coimbatore district and in 1866 it was accorded the municipality status. Sir Robert Stanes became the first Chairman of the Coimbatore City Council. Industrialization of the region begin in 1888 and continued into the 20th century. The region was hard hit during the Great Famine of 1876-78 resulting in nearly 200,000 famine related fatalities. On February 8, 1900 an earthquake struck Coimbatore damaging many buildings. The first three decades of the 20th century, saw nearly 20,000 plague related deaths and an acute water shortage. The city experienced a textile boom in 1920s and 1930s due to the decline of the Cotton industry in Mumbai. The region played a significant role in the Indian independence movement. Post independence, Coimbatore has seen rapid growth due to industrialization. In 1981, Coimbatore was constituted as a corporation.

Culture
Coimbatore and its people have a reputation for entrepreneurship. Though it is generally considered a traditional city, Coimbatore is more diverse and cosmopolitan than all other cities in Tamil Nadu except for Chennai. The city conducts its own music festival every year. Art, dance and music concerts are held annually during the months of September and December (Tamil calendar month - Margazhi) at Rajalakshmi Fine Arts. The heavy industrialisation of the city has also resulted in the growth of trade unions. There are numerous temples in and around the city including the Perur Patteeswarar Temple, Konniamman temple, Thandu Mariamman temple, Vazhai Thottathu Ayyan temple, Echanaari Ganesh temple, Karamadai temple, Marudamalai Murugan temple,Panchamuga Anjaneya Temple(Hanuman with 5 Faces) and the Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple. The Mariamman festivals, at the city's numerous Amman temples, are major events in summer. The mosques on Oppanakara Street and Big Bazaar Street date back to the period of Hyder Ali. Christian missions date back to 1647 when permission was granted by the Nayak rulers to set up a small church in Karumathampatti 12 km (7.5 mi). It was destroyed by Tipu Sultan's army resulting in a new church in 1804. In 1886, Coimbatore was constituted as a diocese after bifurcating with Pondicherry. Sikh Gurudwaras and Jain Temples are also present in Coimbatore.

From 1940s to 70s the city was generally peaceful without any communal or caste clashes. Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 was followed by large scale arson and looting targeted at businesses owned by North Indians (particularly Sikhs). During the 1980s crime increased, Hindu - Muslim riots were frequent in the late 80's and 90's reaching their peak in 1997 when a large scale riot occurred in the Townhall and West Coimbatore area. It was followed by the 1998 bomb blasts. After 2000, Crime rate in Coimbatore dropped making it one of the largest cities in India with a low crime rate.

Cusine in Coimbatore
Coimbatore cuisine is predominantly south Indian with rice as its base. However, the population of Coimbatore is multi-cultural due to the influx of migrant population from various regions of the country. Most locals still retain their rural flavour, with many restaurants serving food over a banana leaf. North Indian, Chinese and continental cuisines are also available. Mysorepa (a sweet made from lentil flour and ghee), idly, dosa, Halwa (a sweet made of different ingredients like milk, wheat, rice) and vada-sambar and biryani are popular among the locals. Some popular restaurant brands such as Annapoorna, Sree Sampoorna, Sri Krishna Sweets originated in Coimbatore.

Healthcare
The size of the Coimbatore health care industry has been estimated as 1500 Crore (150 million) in 2010. There are nearly 750 hospitals in and around Coimbatore with a capacity of 5000 beds. The first health care centre in the city was started in 1909. In 1969, it was upgraded to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH). It is a government run hospital with a bed strength of 1020 and provides free health care. Including the CMCH, corporation maintains 16 dispensaries and 2 maternity homes. The city also has many large multi-facility private hospitals like the PSG Hospitals, Kovai Medical Center and Hospital(KMCH), KG Hospital, Coimbatore Kidney Centre, G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, Sheela Hospital, Kongunad Hospital, Gem Hospital, Ganga Hospital, Aravind Eye Hospital, Sankara Netralaya,Lotus Eye Hospital, Ashwin hospital, Vikram ENT hospital, Coimbatore Cancer Foundation, G.P.Hospital, Diabetes Care and Research Centre. The city is also a major centre for medical tourism. The city remains the preferred healthcare destination for people from nearby districts and also from the neighbouring state of Kerala.

Sri Valeeswarar Temple, Coimbatore

Sri Valeeswarar Temple is located in Chevur, Coimbatore Dist. The temple is open from 6.30 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. The temple is around 500-1000 years old.

Vali, Sugriva's brother worshipped in this temple seeking remedy from some bad effects incurred by him. Hence, Lord Shiva in this temple is named Valeeswarar. People facing obstacles in wedding proposals, problems about children’s welfare pray to Lord Shiva, Goddess Aram Valartha Nayaki and Lord Muruga. The temple is praised by Sundaramurthy Nayanar in his Thevaram hymns. Lord Baladandayuthapani with his staff graces from a shrine behind the shrine of Goddess. In the inner corridor (prakara), Panchalinga, Sahasralinga, Sun, Moon, Nalvar (Gnanasambandar, Appar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar) and Saturn facing west grace from their shrines.

The temple is praised by Sundaramurthy Nayanar in his Thevaram hymns. Lord Baladandayuthapani with his staff graces from a shrine behind the shrine of Goddess. In the inner corridor (prakara), Panchalinga, Sahasralinga, Sun, Moon, Nalvar (Gnanasambandar, Appar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar) and Saturn facing west grace from their shrines. There is a lamp post (Deepasthamba) outside the temple bearing a sculpture depicting Vali worshipping Lord Shiva. Lord Vinayaka is under the Bodhi tree (Arasamaram) nearby. There is a Shivalinga by the side of Vinayaka with Rahu and Ketu.

Mother Goddess Aram Valartha Nayaki (Goddess nurturing righteousness - dharma) graces from a separate shrine left of the Lord. Lord Muruga is in between them holding a cock in his left hand. Generally, Lord Muruga is seen in temples holding His flag with the cock symbol. Here, He holds the cock itself. There is a lion on his seat-peetam. His consorts Valli and Deivanai are also in His shrine. Lord Nataraja graces from a separate shrine. The speciality of Lord Nataraja is that the idol is designed combining five such Natarajas in five different places. Arudra festival is grandly celebrated to Lord Nataraja.

How to Reach Coimbatore

By Air: The city is served by the Coimbatore International Airport at Peelamedu 11 km (6.8 mi) from the city and an air-force base at Sulur 23 km (14 mi). The Coimbatore International Airport caters to domestic flights to major Indian cities like Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkatta and Mumbai and international flights to Sharjah and Singapore. Its runway is 9,760 feet (2,970 m) in length and is capable of handling wide-bodied and "fat-bellied" aircraft used for international flights.

By Rail: Train service in Coimbatore started in 1852, upon construction of the Podanur - Madras line connecting Kerala and the west coast with the rest of India. Broad gauge trains connect Coimbatore to all parts of India and Tamil Nadu. Meter gauge line existed between Podanur and Dindigul got closed on May 2009 and is under gauge conversion. The Coimbatore Junction is well connected to major Indian cities like Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Howrah, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Rajkot, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Kanpur and Patna. It is second highest revenue yielding station in the Southern Railway division of Indian Railways. The Coimbatore Junction comes under the Jurisdiction of the Salem Division and contributes 43.5% of its divisional income. This is the second largest income generating station in Southern Railway after Chennai Coimbatore North Junction is another important railway junction in the city apart from Coimbatore Junction and Podanur Junction. The other stations include Peelamedu, Singanallur, Irugur, Perianaikanpalayam, Madukkarai, Somanur and Sulur.

In addition, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway that goes up to the hill station or mountain resort at Ooty has its lower terminus at Mettupalayam, a town very near Coimbatore.

By Road: There are seven major arterial roads in the city: Avinashi road, Trichy road, Satyamangalam road, Mettupalayam road, Pallakad road, Pollachi and Marudhamalai road. There are three National Highways passing through the city: NH-47, NH-67 and NH 209.Apart from state and National Highways, the city corporation maintains a 635.32 km long road network. Coimbatore has several major bus stands. The town buses (intra-city) operate from the Town Bus Stand in Gandhipuram to other bus stations across the city. Inter-city buses that connect Coimbatore operate from five different bus stands: Gandhipuram Bus Stand (for buses going to East and North East to Erode, Gobichettipalayam, Tirupur, Karur, Salem, Sathyamangalam and surrounding areas), Singanallur Bus Stand (for buses to Madurai, Trichy and the towns around them), Thiruvalluvar or SETC Bus Stand at Gandhipuram (for Express buses to Other states and also within Tamil Nadu), Ukkadam Bus Stand (for buses to Palakkad, Palani, Pollachi and Udumalpet and other nearby places) and Mettupalayam Road Bus stand for buses going toward Mettupalayam and Ooty, as well as buses operated by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. Apart from these the Omni Bus Stand in Sathy Road, Gandhipuram caters to private bus operators.

The city has a very high vehicle-to-population ratio. Town buses started operations in 1921. Town bus services serve most parts of the city, as well as other towns and villages in the district. Buses also connect the district with all major towns in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. The number of inter-city routes operated by Coimbatore division is 119 with a fleet of more than 500 buses. A large number of intra-city private buses operate within the city. The number of intra city buses in the city is around 800 in 228 different routes. The city is also served by auto rickshaws. The growth of Call Taxi Service is also on the rise.

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