Clockwise from top: Avinashi Road, Perur Pateeswarar Temple, Victoria Town Hall, Ukkadam Periyakulam Lake, PSG College of Technology, Tidel Park
|Nickname(s): Manchester of South India|
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. TheKossar tribe mentioned in the second century CE Tamil epic Silappathikaram and other poems inSangam 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 accordedmunicipality 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 8 February 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 the 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 industrialisation. In 1981, Coimbatore was constituted as a corporation.
Coimbatore and its people have a reputation for entrepreneurship. Though it is generally considered a traditional city, Coimbatore is more diverse and cosmopolitan than other cities in Tamil Nadu. 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). 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, ISKCON Temple, Eachanari Vinayagar Temple, Karamadaitemple, Marudamalai Murugan temple, Loga Nayaga Shani Eswaran shrine, Astamsa Varada Anjaneyar temple, Panchamuga Anjaneya temple and Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple. TheMariamman 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 Puducherry. Sikh Gurudwaras and Jain Temples are also present 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. Mysore pak (a sweet made from lentil flour and ghee), idly, dosa, Halwa (a sweet made of different ingredients like milk, wheat, rice).The Annapoorna Gowrishankar Hotels is a gem of this region known for its high quality vegetarian food and their Sambar ( The sambar for all its branches around Coimbatore are prepared in a single large batch and then delivered to the branches, thus the taste remains consistent). Biryani is also popular among the locals. Apart from this Coimbatore has a very active street food culture, thanks to the migratory North Indian population that settled down here a few generation ago, in fact a streetfood that is popular all over Tamil Nadu The Kaazhaan has its origins here in Coimbatore, it is usually prepared by simmering deep fried mushrooms( usually chopped leaf mushroom) in a spicy broth, until it reaches a porridge like consistency and served sprinkled with chopped oinions and coriander leaves.
Coimbatore also houses a number of museums and art galleries like G.D. Naidu Museum & Industrial Exhibition, H A Gass Forest Museum, Government Museum, Kadhi Gandhi Gallery and Kasthuri Srinivasan Art Gallery and Textile Museum. A science park and a planetarium is being built near Codissia trade fair complex and will be inaugurated by May 2012.
There are several amusement parks in and around the city namely, Black Thunder water theme park near Mettupalayam, Kovai Kondattamamusement park at Perur and Maharaja Theme Park at Nillambur. Since the 1980s, the city has had a few small shopping complexes.Lately, malls have come up including Brookefields Mall and Fun Republic Mall. The city also has a number of parks including VOC park, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University park, Race Course children's park, Bharathi park in Saibaba Colony and many more parks. Coimbatore Zoo houses a number of animals and birds and is located near VOC park. Singanallur lake is a popular tourist place and bird watcher destination. Though there are a lot of entertainment centres mushrooming in the city, visiting the cinema still remains the city's most popular recreational activity.