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Tourist Places To Visit In Coimbatore
In times gone by, Coimbatore, which had been a trading centre with the Romans, was ruled by local chieftains like medieval Cholas, the Pandyas, Madurai Sultanate, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire and later by the Madurai and Thanjavur Nayakas. Coimbatore had been caught in a tug of war between Tipu Sultan and the British East India Company and later in the Polygar wars before Independence.
Howsoever industrialized Coimbatore might have become today, the region still retains a pastoral beauty and antiquity, marked by the number of parks, forested areas, waterfalls and sanctuaries and the ancient temples built by kings, museums and monuments that one might find in the expanse. There are several places of tourist interest in Coimbatore and in its neighbourhood. We will give you a list of some amazing places you can visit.
Perur Patteswara Temple
Renowned for its architectural splendour and bas reliefs, the Perur Patteeswara Temple for Shiva was built by King Karikala Chola with later modifications and additions by the Hoysalas,Vijayanagara Empire, Palayakkarars and Nayakar kings. Tamil poet Sundarar is said to have composed the Thevaram in this temple by around the 7th century. The Ardha Mandapa and Mahamandapa built during the Chola Dynasty has inscriptions about the donations made to the temple.
The Kanaka Sabha which was built by Azhakathiri Nayakar of Madurai Nayakars has a gold plated statue of Shiva and exquisite carvings on the walls and the stone chains with a petalled lotus on the ceiling. Check out the Arasambalavanar shrine where Shiva is said to have danced the Ananda Tandav under a peepal tree. The region around the temple must have been a hot trading hub ages ago, for many a number of Roman coins were excavated here. Lying adjacent to the temple is the Noyyal River, where people pay their homage to their ancestors.
The Insect Museum has exhibits of several insect species dating back to the 1900s. There are about 20,000 insects on display, from about 50 species collected from many parts of the world. There are preserved specimens of insects, live butterflies and bees, huge termite mounds as well as rare insect eating pitcher plants. Check out the interactive display boards that have been specially formulated to benefit students and farmers about the pros and cons of the insectkind. There is an attractive arrangement of insect based coins and stamps of countries round the world.
The Insect Museum is located in the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10.00am-1.00pm and from 2.30pm-4.40pm.
Eachanari Ganesha Temple
Eachanari Ganesha temple is a significant pilgrim place in Coimbatore. According to legends, the imposing 6 ft high idol of Ganesha was taken in a bullock cart from Madurai for installation at the Patteeswara Temple at Perur. While passing Eachanari, the axle of the cart broke down. The idol was placed on the ground while the cart was being repaired. When the men were ready to move, the idol would not budge from the place it was sitting on. Assuming that Ganesha had chosen a place for himself, a temple was built at the very spot and Ganesha came to be called Eachanari Ganesha, after the region he was in.
The temple which is open from 5.00am-10.00pm is about 12 km from the Coimbatore Railway Station. There are several buses from Gandhipuram Bus Stand to Eachanari.
Uthukuli Aranmanai Palace
The 800 year old Uthukuli Aranmanai Palace is a traditional home of the Zamindari Kalingarayars of Uthukuli. The Kalingarayar clan who had been ruling the western parts of Tamil Nadu since the period of the Cholas and had been instrumental in building the Kalingarayar Canal, have their successors living in the palace at present. Artefacts exhibits belonging to the bygone era include statues, antique furniture, vintage lamps, coins and several other interesting equipment, along with the architectural patterns of the palace which are a combination of different eras and styles. A daily two hour sightseeing tour through the palace is arranged for tourists.
The Adiyogi Shiva statue and Dyanalingam are at the foothills of the Velliangiri hills. The Adiyogi Shiva designed by Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha Foundation, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest bust sculpture in the world. There are bullocks and vans that can transport you to the gigantic 112 ft tall Adiyogi statue, or you could also walk the distance from the entrance, which has an ample car parking facility. There are two ponds called Suryakund and Chandrakund where you could take a holy dip. There are stalls selling iced coffee and snacks, along with hotels and souvenir shops inside the campus. The Adiyogi Shiva is about 29 km from Coimbatore.
Velliangiri Shiva Temple
The Velliangiri Hills are a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Western Ghats that border the western edges of Coimbatore. Pilgrims and trekkers walk up a number of hills before arriving at the Shiva temple at the peak of the seventh hill, where Shiva is worshipped as the Swayambhu or self formed One. The hills are considered as Then Kailash or the Kailash hills of the South. It’s so misty and cold uphill and there are several flora and fauna making the trek such an amazing and picturesque one. Every one of the seven hills has caves where siddhars have meditated, with fresh water springs and tiny temples on the side. The hills are at an altitude of 6000 ft and the trek is about 8 miles long. The hills are best visited between February and May. There are buses from Coimbatore that can drop you off at Poondi, at the foothills of the hills.
The Gass Museum is said to be the oldest Forest Museum in the country. Opened in 1902 by Horace Archibald Gass, the Conservator of Forests, the museum has about 4,000 specimen exhibits on wildlife, timbre, on woodcraft, mycology, geology and entomology etc. Do visit the timbre library which has a collection of non timbre tree products. Nature enthusiasts and children would find a visit to the museum highly enlightening. The Museum is located in the forest college campus and the landscaping in really good, what with peacocks wandering around and a lawn with benches where you could sit.
The Gass Museum is open from 9.00am-5.00pm, with a lunch break from 1.00pm-2.00pm. It’s closed on weekends and Central government holidays.
Dharmalinga Malai is a region of the Western Ghats. The Dharmalingeshwara temple for Shiva, which is more than 500 years old, is situated on top of the 300 m high hill that has more than a hundred steps and uneven rocky inclines further on. It’s a forested region with a number of peacocks and monkeys in sight. Pilgrims visit the temple on Pournami for Girivalam or circumambulation. The temple lights up during Shivratri with bhajans sung the whole night. Check out the mango tree near the Navagraha shrine that is said to yield fruits of varying tastes and the anthill where an old snake is yet believed to live. As per the temple legends, the exiled Pandavas worshipped at the shrine and there’s a statue of Bheema at the bottom of the hill, who’s regarded as the village divinity.
Marudhamalai Muruga Temple
According to legends the hills Vellingiri, Nili and the adjacent Marudhamalai are the manifestations of Shiva, Parvathi and Muruga. Set amidst a lush green environment, the Murugan temple on the Marudhamalai Hill is said to have been built in the 12th century. Check out the cave for a siddhar saint called Paampaati Siddhar meditated in long,long ago, the Kudhirai Kulampadigal or footprints of a horse, said to have been made when Subrahmanya rode his horse against the asura Surapadma and the Thaan thondri Ganesha temple.
The temple is open for darshan from 5.30am-1.00pm and from 2.00pm-8.30pm. Marudhamalai is about 14 km from Coimbatore. There are buses that run to Marudhamalai from Coimbatore.
Athar Jamad Masjid
Built in 1904, the Athar Jamad Masjid is one of the oldest and the largest mosques in Coimbatore. Quite clearly visible from afar, the 85 ft high minarets of the mosque stand out tall and stately from the backdrop. The mosque has a library, a pond for ablution and on the southern side of the mosque is a dargah for Hazrat Jamesha Waliullah, a saint who died in the 1850s. The mosque is located in the Opanakkara Street in Coimbatore. It’s one of the busiest areas in Coimbatore and getting a transport to the mosque should not be a problem.