Why Coimbatore Is Every Indian’s City Escape
Much of the travel appeal of Coimbatore is in the natural surroundings. The city is surrounded on the north and West by the Western Ghat range. Also, to the north of the city are reserve forests. Due to the proximity to the mountains the city has a wide range of natural life. A rapidly expanding industrialized city, it contrasts starkly to the surrounding district which is more than 20 percent forest. However, for those who don’t want to spend all day and night in the wilderness, there are a wide variety of options for city exploration as well. Whether you’d prefer to visit museums or temples, your holiday needs will be satisfied.
Parks and Gardens
The Nilgiri Biosphere Nature Park is 32 kilometres west of Coimbatore and houses some 110 exclusive endemic plants as well as 100 species of bird, 20 species of reptile, 22 species of amphibian, 18 species of mammal and more than 300 invertebrates. Currently there is a 1.2-kilometre loop trail through the park that visitors can use to experience the sights and sounds of Southern India in the mountains. The park was founded in 1985 in order to preserve the flora and fauna found in the Nilgiri Biosphere. You can take a look at this guideto find out more ways to explore Nilgiri.
Situated in the Western Ghats, Coimbatore has unique access to the natural environment of lush Southern India. Firstly, there are four easily accessible, picturesque waterfalls nearby. Kovai Kutralam is the most highly recommended. This is in part because of the lush natural scenery that surrounds it but also largely because of its size. There is no entry fee for this great photography location.
Places of Worship
Marudamalai Murugan Temple is located 15 kilometres west of Coimbatore and is an important site in the worship of Murugan, for the god’s devotees often considered him to be second in importance only to the Arupadaiveedu temples. References to Marudamalai Temple exist in inscriptions into Thirumuruganpoondi temple which dates from the 12th century. Thus, Marudamalai is at least as old as that. Apart from religious activities, the temple operates as a shelter. Children up to the high school level are fed, clothed, housed and educated by the temple.
Perur Pateeswarar Temple is a phenomenal example of Dravidian architecture. Vibrantly painted and intricately designed the temple stands out among the most attractive locations in Southern India. The temple dates back to the 16th century and was built by the Palayakarars under Raja Raja Chola. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is especially interesting during the fall as the Natyanjali, or festival of dance, is held every September and hosts crowds of classical dancers.
The Gass Forestry Museum is a museum of forest conservation and management established in 1902 by conservationist Horace Archibald Gass which houses rare species of butterflies, animals and birds embalmed. Displays include cultivation methods, model houses, soldier’s armour and hunting equipment among other things. The museum is operated by the forest department and requires a nominal fee for entry during hours of operation. In 1912 what is now known as the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy was established on museum grounds to train foresters. Between 1942 and 1947 the museum buildings were used as shelters for WWII evacuees from Malta and Greece. The museum is in the heart of Coimbatore city.
Fun Republic Mall has Western foods and amenities such as McDonalds, English language films in fun theatres and western shops. There are a variety of Tamil and Hindi language films playing as well throughout the year. The food court boasts a variety of food and drink stalls. Altogether there are five floors of mall amenities for shoppers to peruse.
Brookefields Mall is the main competitor in Coimbatore which also has a several movie screens and a wide array of indoor shopping options. It has outlets from many major clothing and apparel brands to suit the needs of any shopper.
Coimbatore contains India’s second modern racing circuit, Kari Motor Speedway. The track was inaugurated in 2003 and is named after Sundaram Karivardhan, a successful formula racer, designer and industrialist who died in 1995 in an air accident. Coimbatore was his home. His legacy is a track that was once a runway for Power Gliders, a form of airplane and is now the location of championship go carts, motorcycle road racing events and formula racing events. The track is also rented out to private clubs for various tests of endurance, handling and driver training. It even has become the test ground of various Indian automotive manufacturers including Jayem Automotive.
Waterfall image by –Reji from Flickr’s Creative Commons