Coimbatore, also known as Kovai, is the second largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the 15th largest urban agglomeration in India with a metropolitan population of over 2 million. It is a major commercial centre and has often been referred to as the "Manchester of South India". The Coimbatore region has been ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, the later Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire and the Madurai Nayaks and is believed to have been named after a chieftain called Koyan. In the 17th century, the city became a part of the Kingdom of Mysore and remained so until its conquest by the British East India Company in 1799. The history of modern Coimbatore, however, dates from the 1930s, when the city grew rapidly capitalizing on a textile boom. Since then, the city has witnessed steady growth fueled by its favourable soil, climate and political and economic conditions.
Coimbatore is an important textile, Industrial, Commercial, Information technology, and manufacturing hub of Tamil Nadu. Other important industries include software services, education and healthcare. Coimbatore has been ranked 4th among Indian cities in investment climate by a survey done by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The city has been ranked at No. 17 among the top global outsourcing cities in a study by Tholons.
Coimbatore and its people have a reputation for entrepreneurship. Though it is generally considered a traditional city, Coimbatore is more diverse and cosmopolitan than all other cities in Tamil Nadu like Chennai. 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) at Rajalakshmi Fine Arts. The heavy industrialisation of the city has also resulted in the growth of trade unions. There are numerous temples in and around the city including the Perur Patteeswarar Temple, Konniamman temple, Thandu Mariamman Temple, Vazhai Thottathu Ayyan temple, Echanaari Ganesh temple, Karamadai temple, Marudamalai Murugan Temple,Panchamuga Anjaneya Temple(Hanuman with 5 Faces) and the Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple.
The Mariamman festivals, at the city’s numerous Amman temples, are major events in summer. The mosques on Oppanakara Street and Big Bazaar Street date back to the period of Hyder Ali. Christian missions date back to 1647 when permission was granted by the Nayak rulers to set up a small church in Karumathampatti 12 km (7.5 mi). It was destroyed by Tipu Sultan’s army resulting in a new church in 1804. In 1886, Coimbatore was constituted as a diocese after bifurcating with Pondicherry. Sikh Gurudwaras and Jain Temples are also present in Coimbatore.
Sports and recreation:
Motor sports plays a large part in the city, with Coimbatore often referred to as the "Motor sports Capital of India" and the "Backyard of Indian Motorsports". Some wealthy industrialists, such as S.Karivardhan, spearheaded motor racing, making Coimbatore the country's motor racing hub when he designed and built entry level racecars. The city has a Formula 3 Category circuit and few Go-Kart circuits, formula cars manufacturers and FIA member motorsport associations that condustc National Championship races and Rallies.
National Champion races for Formula racing (Cars), Motorcycle racing, Go-Kart racing are held in Kari Motor Speedway. The tyre manufacturer MRF assembles and builds Formula Ford cars in Coimbatore in association with former F3 ChampionJ.Anand.Super Speeds designs and constructs almost all Formula cars. Rallying is another major event with all teams based in Coimbatore. Rallies are conducted in closed roads around Coimbatore districts. Narain Karthikeyan, Indias most famous driver, became the first Indian to enter Formula One in 2005. Other famous motorsport personalities from Coimbatore are J. Anand, N. Leela Krishnan and V. R. Naren Kumar.
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.A science park and a planetarium is being built near Codissia trade fair complex and will be inaugurated by May 2012.
There are several nature and amusement parks in and around the city. Maharaja Theme Park and Multiplex in Nillambur on NH-47 is located inside the city, Black Thunder water theme park which is surrounded by foothills of Western Ghats located on Ooty main road near Mettupalayam have parks like Nilgiri Biosphere Nature Park, Kovai Kondattam amusement park in Perur, Coimbatore Since the 1980s, the city has had about 10 small to medium sized shopping complexes like Cheran towers on Arts collage road and Lakshmi Complex in Gandhipuram