Coimbatore Knowledge Guide
The region around Coimbatore was ruled by the Cheras during Sangam period between c. 1st and the 4th centuries AD and it served as the eastern entrance to the Palakkad Gap, the principal trade route between the west coast and Tamil Nadu. The Kosar tribe mentioned in the second century AD Tamil epic Silappathikaram and other poems in Sangam literature is associated with the Coimbatore region. The region was located along an ancient Roman trade route that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu. The medieval Cholas conquered the Kongu Nadu in the 10th century. 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. In the 1550s, Madurai Nayaks, who were the military governors 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. They introduced the Palayakkarar system under which Kongu Nadu region was divided into 24 Palayams. In the latter part of the 18th century, the region came under the Kingdom of Mysore, following a series of wars with the Madurai Nayak dynasty. After the defeat of 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 1804, Coimbatore was established as the capital of the newly formed Coimbatore district and in 1866 it was accorded municipality status. Sir Robert Stanes became the first chairman of the Coimbatore City Council. The region was hard hit during the Great Famine of 1876–78 resulting in nearly 200,000 famine related fatalities. The first three decades of the 20th century saw nearly 20,000 plague-related deaths and acute water shortage.The decline of the cotton industry in Mumbai fuelled an economic boom in Coimbatore in the 1920s and 1930s. The region played a significant role in the Indian independence movement with Mahatma Gandhi visiting the city three times. Coimbatore was the base of operations for political figures such as S. P. Narasimhalu Naidu, R. K. Shanmukham Chetty, C.S. Rathinasabapathy and C. Subramaniam during the freedom movement. Post independence, Coimbatore has seen rapid growth due to industrialisation and in 1981, Coimbatore was constituted as a Municipal corporation. On 14 February 1998, the radical Islamist group Al Ummah bombed 11 places across the city killing 58 people and injuring more than 200.
Tamil is the official language and Kongu Tamil (also called Kangee or Kongalam), a dialect, is predominantly spoken. Coimbatore also has a significant number of Kannadigas, Telugus, Malayalis and North Indians, mainly Gujaratis. As per the 2001 census, the number of speakers by native language are as follows : Tamil (707,263) followed by Telugu (125,616), Malayalam (46,645) and Kannada (30,195). During the 1970s the city witnessed a population explosion as a result of migration fuelled by increased economic growth and job opportunities.
The city's population is predominantly Hindu with minority Muslim and Christian population. Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists are also present in small numbers. According to the religious census of 2011, Coimbatore has 83.31% Hindus, 8.63% Muslims, 7.53% Christians, 0.28% Jains, 0.05% Sikhs, 0.02% Buddhists and 0.01% Others. 0.17% of the respondents did not state their religion.The Mariamman festivals at the city's numerous Mariamman temples are major events in summer. During Maha Shivaratri 1000's visit the velliangiri poondi Temple which is situated in the Niligiri Biosphere Reserve to get the grace of Lord Shiva after climbing seven Hills. Major Hindu temples in the city include the Perur Patteeswarar Temple, Naga Sai Mandir, Koniamman Temple, Thandu Mariamman Temple, Eachanari Vinayagar Temple, Karamadai Ranganathaswamy Temple, Marudamalai Murugan Temple, Loga Nayaga Shaniswara Temple, Ashtamsa Varadha Anjaneyar Temple, Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple and the 112-foot Adiyogi Shiva statue which is the world's tallest bust of Lord Shiva. The mosques on Oppanakara Street and Big Bazaar Street date back to the 18th century CE. Christian missions date back to the 17th century when permission was granted by the Nayak rulers to set up churches in the region. Sikh Gurudwaras and Jain temples are also present in Coimbatore.
Coimbatore cuisine is predominantly south Indian with rice as its base. Most local restaurants still retain their rural flavor, with many restaurants serving food over a banana leaf. Eating on a banana leaf is an old custom and imparts a unique flavor to the food and is considered healthy. North Indian, Chinese and continental cuisines are also available. Idly, dosa, paniyaram and appam are popular dishes.Coimbatore has an active street food culture and various cuisine options for dining. Arisi paruppu sadam and sambar sadam, made from a mixture of dal and rice, is a recipe that existed from the fourth century AD that is unique to the area. Kaalaan is a popular dish prepared by simmering deep-fried mushrooms (usually chopped) in a spicy broth until it reaches a porridge-like consistency; the dish is served sprinkled with chopped onions and coriander leaves. Chaats made from potatoes and a mix of other vegetables and spices are also popular.
Swamikannu Vincent, who had built the first cinema of south India in Coimbatore, introduced the concept of Tent Cinema in which a tent was erected on an open land to screen the films. Central Studios was set up in 1935 while S. M. Sriramulu Naidu established Pakshiraja Studios in 1945. 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). 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.