One of the first things that I noticed about this industry and business lover city is, of course, its railway station. Sparkling and bouncing off colors in the early warm yet pleasant morning sun, the Coimbatore railway station’s façade is a prism of bright yellow and red colors. Undoubtedly, very different from the exteriors of railway stations of metropolitan cities, which are usually all serious and red bricked faced, with tall towers and a dozen of entry points, the Coimbatore station looks straight out of a children’s Disney world cartoon series. And obviously, I totally loved it.
Welcome to Coimbatore, I told myself. Coimbatore, by itself, is not really a tourist destination or a city that thrives on its natural or historical beauty to attract people. On the contrary, if you are on a holiday in Coimbatore, chances are you may not find enough to do to spend your time. There are malls, shopping areas, the zoo, and parks, however, it is not a city that one would go to, for a vacation. It is often relegated to as a stepping stop over for other more vibrant tourist spots, such as, Ooty, Coonor, and destinations in Kerela that are famed for the Nilgiris. Coimbatore serves well for a night stay to allow you to travel further in your journey.
However, this does not mean that Coimbatore is a boring, non happening place altogether. In fact, it is one of the most laborious and industrious cities of India. Flourishing in the textile and engineering industries, Coimbatore gives most of the other well known important cities a run for their money in the above industries. But I am not here to discuss the efficiencies of the city, which quite surely you can google anyway. I am here to tell you what it feels to spend a few days in a non metropolitan city, under the pleasant patronage of the foot hills of the Nilgiri hills. For those who actually live there, it may not be much of a fascination to look at the city as a minor brother or sister to the giants of Chennai or any other major city in India. It could, in fact, be a point of contention. But, for people who have spent their lives in hectic commotion driven cities, a visit to Coimbatore is sure soothing.
As I drove from the station and reached one of the most important roads of the city, Avinashi Road, I could not but help feel ushered by a sense of relief and calm. For on one of the main roads of the city, I hardly found more than a few high rise buildings and neither was the traffic too bad. Somehow, I could almost imagine a matrix style widening and expansion of the space around me and I could breathe in and watch the sky at almost eye level.
Another feature that I noticed most in this city, were the trees. Red, pink and yellow flowered dozens and dozens of trees. Lined outside homes, on the streets, these colorful miracles were a great sight to watch in the morning and evenings.
And the climate! It is pleasant and soothing almost all along. Well, this summer it did get hot in almost all parts of India, much more than usual ( a common understanding these days that every progressive summer in India is worse than its predecessor), it was still much better than most of the other low-lying parts of Tamil Nadu. In fact, Coimbatore has a nice breezy climate almost throughout the year and that I think secretly is the reason why they are doing so well for themselves economically.
This brings me, finally, to the textile and engineering industries because any dissertation on Coimbatore will always be incomplete without a mention of these. Pumps and grinders are its specialties and so are textiles of all kinds. I am not really sure if men go crazy seeing pumps and engineering equipment and break into a frenzy of shopping ( alright I am quite sure they don’t, though would be nice to imagine), I can tell you for sure women do go totally berserk on seeing clothes of reasonably cheap prices on sale. Tirupur, the Manchester of South India, is just about 45 minutes away from Coimbatore and is one of the most important textile hubs of the country. Exports are its main forte, and you can well imagine what happens to those slightly lesser qualities of merchandises that are unfit for exports. Well, they are happily lapped up by the domestic public, because who really cares if a zip is tad dysfunctional or there is a tiny misprint in the corner of the shirt, we will still buy it because it’s really really cheap. You cannot miss the large hoardings on shops in Coimbatore exhibiting their export quality (return quality) wears and you would be quite inhuman and unIndian if you do not step into one of these and come out feeling happy with yourself for having successfully found so much that you need and will hopefully need in future for a smacking price.
Alright, I can go on about shopping, primarily because I am someone who is in perpetual need to buy things if they are cheaper in another place than where I reside, irrespective of whether I really need it or not.
Nevermind me, but if you happen to plan a trip to one of the gorgeous destinations in the Nilgiris, it will be worth to make a day halt in Coimbatore. It is more like a gradual way to acclimatize you into slipping into a restful and tranquil holiday. Because where else would you actually see a hillock with a halo of clouds while driving along the main road?