Continuing in our series of getting to know Coimbatore better, we now look at some of the places one can visit while in this beautiful city. Mind you, it is the 2nd largest Metropolitan city in the state of Tamil Nadu so there are quite a bit of things to do and see here.
Many of you might be arriving in Coimbatore a day ahead of the marathon or even earlier. You might have a few hours to kill or more than a day. Either ways, instead of sitting in your hotel room, you can get out and explore the town. Here are a few places you can visit to get to know the city better and soak in the atmosphere before gearing up for the run.
Nature & wildlife:-
Topslip: Situated within the Indira Gandhi National Park, it is an important tourist center and the only entry point to Parambikulam Wild Life Reserve Forest in Kerala. Drive down through Pollachi to reach Topslip, which is 35kms from Pollachi. Visit the elephant camp at Chinnar (25kms) or the tropical rain forest of Karianshola, but a visit to Topslip will leave you wanting more. For adventure seekers, it is the ideal location for a trek, the most popular being the 12km stretch through Karianshola and Pandaravarai.
Anamalai wildlife sanctuary: Also known as Indira Gandhi National Park, this reserve is situated at a distance of 90kms from Coimbatore. Spread over an expansive area of about 958 sq kms, the sanctuary is home to the spotted deer, wild boar, Indian fox, leopard cat, stripped-neck mongoose, Indian porcupine, sloth bear, tigers, elephants and many more. The sanctuary is home to over 300 species of birds, including red-winged crested cuckoo, frogmouth and peregrine falcon.
Aliyar Dam: Aliyar Dam is situated near Pollachi and is about 65kms from Coimbatore. Situated at the foothills of Valparai in the Anamalai Hills, the dam offers spectacular views with mountains surrounding the reservoir. You can spend your day meandering through the park and garden, while there is a mini theme park for the children.
- Kovai Courtralam: Another magnificent site of gushing cascades awaits you at this scenic locale called Kovai Courtralam. The scenic surroundings do make it an ideal picnic spot and there’s even a small observatory that allows you to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding hills and valley. The waterfall is truly spectacular and you can even choose to enjoy a cool dip.
- Siruvani Waterfalls: Siruvani water is supposed to be extremely delicious because it is rich in minerals, which obviously comes from Siruvani waterfalls and the dam. Situated at a distance of 37kms from the city, the falls surely enchant you with their majestic allure and the dam does put you in complete awe with its gorgeous scenic splendor.
Gass Forest Museum: Established by H A Gass in 1902, it is dedicated to wild life, forestry and other allied subjects, this Gass forest Museum is located in the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding.
Black Thunder Theme park : 65 acres of sheer fun is what the theme park offers the visitors. Exciting rides, water parks, and ample space to walk around, this theme park is situated 41 kms from Coimbatore and accessible from Ooty as well. Eat outs, shopping arcades; gaming arcades draws crowds, especially during holidays.
Day trips/ Getaways:-
Udumalpet: Surrounded by mountains on three sides, this scenic hill station is a popular summer retreat. The highlight of this retreat is the relaxing ambience combined with interesting attractions such as the beautiful Thirumoorthy Hills. The Thirumoorthy Hills is home to the famous Thirumoorthy Temple and Thirumoorthy falls.
Valparai: The quaint town of Valparai is at an altitude of 1300 meters, filled with forests. Come and surrender yourself to this enchanting beauty of this little town set against the backdrop of the Grass Hills. The Balaji Temple owned by the Peria Karamalai tea industries is 10kms from main town and a must visit for its sheer beauty and location.
Ooty: This beautiful hillstation is within 2hrs drive from Coimbatore. Ooty or Udagamandalam is the capital of Nilgiri District in TN. There is the Botanical garden, Doddabetta mountain peak, thread garden, lake with boating facility, Pykara Falls, The government Rose garden, and the Toda tribes to keep you occupied for a day or more. The weather is beautiful, the mountains are lush green and it is the perfect getaway to relax before the big marathon.
You can either hire a cab from Coimbatore, or drive down or use the public transport. All these places have buses that ply from Coimbatore bus stand. Just remember to note the bus number and timings so you don’t miss the ride back!