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Things To Do In Coimbatore
Coimbatore is renowned for its near pleasant climate, its proximity to the abundant greenery of the lofty Western Ghats that come with its own waterfalls, sanctuaries, rivers and lakes. This makes Coimbatore one of the best tourist destinations of South India. Such a bundle of touristy combo would surely offer tourists a package of things they can do while on a holiday. Coimbatore is no exception.
We will tell you about adventure tourism, parks and the waterfalls in and around the region as well as about the souvenirs you can buy in the city, the festivals and the delectable cuisine of Kongu Nadu and of course your options for a stay.
Coimbatore and the regions around have some of the best spots for trekking enthusiasts. Of course, most of the treks meander into reserved forest zones so you need to get permission from the Forest Office and also a guide, since you would never know when you’d find a wild animal crossing your path. Some of the greatest trekking areas are Palamalai, Anaikatti, Rajamalai in Eravikulam National Park on Munnar-Udumalpet road, Dhoni Hills or Topslip where you could take a break from trekking, in a tree house. If you are trekking at the fag end of monsoon, then carry lotions or salt to keep off the leeches.
Coimbatore boasts of some of the most amazing waterfalls in South India. Some of these Falls can be trekked to, like the Vaidehi Falls that is inside the forest and needs permission from the Forest Department and a guide as escort. Some of the Waterfalls like the Siruvani Waterfalls and Monkey Falls have cool bathing areas for a dunk. There are shacks where you can buy spiced slices of mango, peanuts and coffee. The waterfalls generally look good during the monsoon and winter seasons, running a risk of a lean water flow during summer.
If you are an avid bird watcher there are several lakes and irrigation tanks in and about Coimbatore that you ought to visit, with a camera and binoculars. The Krishnampatti Eri (Lake), Senkulam,Ukkadam, Sundakamuthur and Singanallur Lakes for instance have droves of birds like Bone Sparrows, Rosy Starlings, pelican, herons and Little Stints migrating in for winter all the way from places like Siberia, China, Mongolia and Africa.
Head to the Sulur Lake for exciting adrenaline pushing water sports like kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. Choose a warm summer morning or a cool breezy evening to zip through the waters. Or just relax by the water’s edge gazing at the birds; you will find pelicans, Asian Paradise Flycatchers and Wood Sandpipers. Locals and tourists alike head to the lakes just to watch the sun set shimmering orange and red on the waters.
Native drums and dances
Every region has its own particular dance and music forms and Coimbatore is no exception. Visit the villages of Coimbatore to listen to the beats of the Thudumbu, the bowl shaped drum like musical instrument that dates back to the Thudumbar tribes of the Chola, Chera and Pandya kingdoms. The Thudumbu is played during Coimbatore’s temple festivals.
Watch an Oyil Kummi dance that is a special rustic men’s dance. There are no musical accompaniments except the tinkle of the anklets that the dancers wear. This dance too complements Temple festivities and is usually based on the stories of Subrahmanya and his consort Valli.
Festivals and Fairs
Coimbatore celebrates Koniamman Car Festival in March, one of the grandest of the region’s festivals ever. The event is so significant that thousands gather at Town Hall where the temple is located, and the traffic gets diverted as the chariot carrying the deity is pulled through the streets of Coimbatore.
Panguni Uthiram (March) is celebrated in Perur Pateeshwarar temple with flag hoisting, car festival and Bhagavath recitals. The Pollachi Trade Fair lights up the serene rural landscape of Pollachi with hundreds of cattle, goats, vegetables and bags of cereals and pulses being sold at the weekly market. The three day Kongu Naatu Velaan and Kaalnadai Thiruvizha (Agriculture and Cattle festival) in February are also good to be in Pollachi. There are contests for the best cattle, tribal dances and exhibits that could even include a historic Ferguson tractor.
Coimbatore is very popular for its textiles and machines. You would be spoilt for choice trying to buy the best of the city’s handloom cotton or silk saris, khadi or dress materials. The city is also known for accessories made of jute, books, wrought iron furniture and handicrafts. You could buy delicious varieties in snacks and chips, seeds and saplings from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and tribal artworks and handicrafts from Anaikatti. Coimbatore is also a good choice if you’re planning to buy computers and electronics.
Culinary traditions of Coimbatore have its roots in the food of Kongu Nadu, though Coimbatore considering it has a busy access to business people and tourists from all over, has a cosmopolitan outlook towards food. You find then that Coimbatore serves Kerala’s Puttu and Madurai’s Jigardhanda with as much elan as its own idlis and dosas. Some of Coimbatore’s favourite food is Kozhi Urundai (chicken fried dumplings in gravy), Kaalan Varuval (spicy mushroom fritters), Murukku sandwiches, karimeen porichadhu (fish in a banana leaf wrap), lemon rice, Kollu rasam (horse gram soup) and the traditional Tamil Nadu’s veggie thali meals served on a banana leaf; not to forget the crispy dosas, idlis and vada sambhar.
Staying at Coimbatore should not be a bother. You have a wide range of options right from budget accommodations to five star hotels and luxury resorts. Depending on your means of arrival, you could also find good hotels in close proximity to the rail station, airport or bus stand. There are good hotels in Gandhipuram, close to the Bus station; while if you’re coming by train then check out the hotels on Avinashi Road or Town Hall, and if by flight then Airport Road, Avinashi Road, SITRA or near Hopes College. There are dormitories, OYO Rooms and Service Apartments all over town as well. There are farm houses near Isha Yoga Centre that offer accomodation.
There are quite a number of pubs or sports bars, cafes and clubs to unwind over a drink or a coffee. All of them have snack bars with Indian and Continental food, a plush and comfy ambience and most of them giving an edge to sports enthusiasts with live telecasts of football or cricket matches. Some places like the Underworld Bar gets up and about, dancing with their stylish music and DJ shows. The streets are pretty active till late at night with tea shops and parotta stalls open for a quick bite before hitting the bed.