under the southern skies
The last time I did the COVID test, I had tested positive and that was in OCT 2020. Cut to September 2021 – it was time for a test again. The only difference was that it was for transit to another city as a mandatory requirement at the airport. Covid strikes had reduced now and travel was slowly resuming. As I write this, people are travelling at a vigorously frequent rate with an aim to cover up the “not travelled” days!! After all, one is not entitled to feel guilty for the entire world and can surely self indulge.
So, with a negative in hand, we were all set to travel to Coimbatore. The purpose was an initiation ceremony at the ashram of our spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev. My partner had visited this place several times before, but it was my first time. It was time to get acquainted/re acquainted to this place.
Airport check-in had to be done hours early. We had heard of airport tales where people had missed their flights due to long check-in queues once Friday struck the week. So we reached our check-in counter quiet early. As predicted, the airport was abuzz with insane activity on the ground, the tarmac filled with flights waiting to take off and people with flutter in their hearts as they looked forward to their “travel is back” days ahead.
The timely flights were well managed. As we approached descent at Coimbatore, the skies were filled with dense clouds. Some of them calling out to us right outside the plane window with the air of ” Welcome to my city”. An easy flight doesn’t mean an easy exit from the airport. The cloudy welcome soon turned into denser despair as cabs kept cancelling our booking for race course road where we had booked our 5 star halt in the city. After more than 20 mins of a frustrating wait, we were greeted by a person who would make this entire tour a pleasant one. An old cab driver came rushing towards us from the car parking across the airport exit. He asked us where we wanted to go and within the next 5 minute we had entered the city and were en route race course road. We asked Ravindran Uncle to pick us up the next day for a tour into the city and he readily agreed.
Coimbatore is a metro city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The Ease of Living Index 2020 puts this city at number 7 position. Thus making it a city that can give you a good quality of life and an economic ability to help you sustain future days. It is also the second largest city in Tamil Nadu after Chennai.
At 10 am sharp, Ravindran uncle was in the parking lot of the hotel to pick us up.
MARUDHAMALAI MURUGANSWAMY TEMPLE:
Our first halt was going to be the famous Marudhamalai Murugan Swamy Temple. Located amidst the lush green hills of western ghats, this temple is said to belong to 12th century. The temple complex is a reflection of the tamilian culture and heritage. A very well maintained complex with ease of access. Once inside, the devotees can sit in the area allocated for them after taking the blessings of Lord Murugan.
WHERE THE STREET ARE PERFECTLY NAMED:
After this peaceful visit to Marudhamalai temple, we made our way to the Town Hall area which is the city’s main area. With a town hall visit, you can call yourself “Kovai Literate”. The Victoria Town hall built in 1892 lends its name to the area. It has further land mark streets like Oppanakara street, Raja street, Ukkadam. The neighbours to town hall are famous place like Gandhipuram and R S Puram. Chennai Silks, Pothys, Mahaveer textiles, Ganapathy silks are some of the famous commercial shops here.
We headed straight to Pothys and an hour later came out with bags full of Pothys’ trademark cotton towels, silk sarees and material, Dhotis, Shirts and Trousers. Not to forget the Pothys memebership card.
GRAB YOUR GRUB HERE IN KOVAI:
It was time for lunch and Ravindran uncle suggested Annapoorna. A very valuable suggestion which we wouldn’t have got had we not met him. Sumptuous South Indian delicacies later, we understood the reason for the huge crowd-in-wait. We had got IN at good time else the wait seemed a minimum 30 mins for a table.
Apart from these shopping hubs, we also shopped at Cross-cut road, Trichy road and R S Puram. Shree Krishna Sweets was a sweet little halt from where we got packed a lot of snacks and sweets.
Gandhipuram is an affluent area which has several jewellery shops like Joy Allukkas, Malabar gold, Kalyan Jewellers, Shri Arthi Jewellery, Josco jewellers etc. The gold rate in Coimbatore is more than the gold rate in Mumbai!!
Next, we took off to Brookefields mall. It was around 3 pm and a heavy downpour had begun. Luckily all our OUTSIDE WORK had got over and in this downpour, a closed mall would be the best place to be in. An hour later, we emerged with some brands in hand making ourselves “covai rich”
Dead tired, we finally called it a day. Another busy day was up next. We would have to start quiet early for the ashram.
Isha ashram is an amazing place. Tourists from all over the world come here for the resident programs. It has given Coimbatore a lot of tourism too and is a blessing for this place. Those who have not enrolled for any program can also visit the ashram. The Dhyanlinga and the Devi Linga is open for general public. There are a lot of visitors on a general day here. After our program with Sadhguru, we visited the Dhyan linga. In its powerful presence, one could feel a cleansing of their aura. Isha ashram has become a synonym for Coimbatore in fact.
After the ashram visit, we decided to return to the hotel and take some rest. Lunch later was at A2B where we also bought some spice powders of their brand for carrying back home. Shopping was a no-no as we had shopped to our hearts content day before. There was nothing that we had not bought!!!
We ended our tour at the Ukkaddam lake with some lovely pics around the I Love Kovai landmark. The gentle breeze gave us a lovely send off and reminded us that we need to visit again. The star of this trip was Mr Ravindran without whom it wouldn’t have been few heavenly days. A thorough native and a genuine cab driver. He would be back the next day at 5 am to drop us to the airport. We felt truly lucky to have met this genuine person.
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