Coimbatore, also known as Kovai and coyamuthur, is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on the banks of the Noyyal River and surrounded by the Western Ghats. Coimbatore is the second largest city by area and population in the state after Chennai and the 16th largest urban agglomeration in India. It is administered by the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation and is the administrative capital of Coimbatore district.
Coimbatore was part of Kongu Nadu during the Sangam period between c. 1st and the 4th centuries CE and was ruled by the Cheras as it served as the eastern entrance to the Palakkad Gap, the principal trade route between the west coast and Tamil Nadu. Coimbatore was located along the ancient trade route that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu in South India
There are multiple theories regarding the origin of the name Coimbatore. According to one theory, “Coimbatore” is a derivation of Kovanputhur (literally ‘new town of Kovan’), after chieftain Kovan or Koyan, evolved into Koyambatoor and later anglicised as Coimbatore. Koyamma, the goddess worshipped by Koyan evolved into Koniamma and later Kovaiamma. Another theory states that the name could have been derived from Kovaiamma
The city is one of the largest exporters of jewellery, wet grinders, poultry and auto components; the “Coimbatore Wet Grinder” and the “Kovai Cora Cotton” are recognised as Geographical Indications by the Government of India.
The decline of the cotton industry in Mumbai fueled 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 thrice. 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.
Coimbatore lies at 11°1′6″N 76°58′21″E in south India at 411 metres (1349 ft) above sea level on the banks of the Noyyal River, in southwestern Tamil Nadu. It covers an area of 642.12 km2 (247.92 sq mi). It is surrounded by the Western Ghats mountain range to the West and the North, with reserve forests of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve on the northern side. The Noyyal River forms the southern boundary of the city, which has an extensive tank system fed by the river and rainwater. The eight major tanks and wetland areas of Coimbatore are namely, Singanallur, Valankulam, Ukkadam Periyakulam, Selvampathy, Narasampathi, Krishnampathi, Selvachinthamani, and Kumaraswami. Multiple streams drain the waste water from the city.