Coimbatore is 2nd largest city in Tamil Nadu and one of the major industrial centres in this state. With these statistics any hopes of good sightseeing should have been effectively dropped. However smoke filled environment and traffic jams were not in my destiny as I came across a well planned beautiful city.
During my stay here, I came to know about lot of beautiful temples in and around Coimbatore and therefore a real temple run was on the cards.
15 km. from Coimbatore and situated in lush green hilly surroundings is the Marudhamalai temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It was twilight when I reached the temple, which is actually the best time to see the hazy ambience created by the blue skies and the hills. Situated on a hill top, temple rises like a mirage to surround over the landscapes.
Getting closer to the main entrance of the temple, it is beautified with number of images of Gods and Goddesses:
Origin of the temple is traced back to 12th century by some of the inscriptions found. Lets go inside the temple for praying and also to enjoy the beautiful inner sanctum.
The divine Cow Kamadhenu is reported to have grazed here in the fields. Hills surrounding the Marudhamalai temple are abounding with Medicinal herbs and it is believed that any physical and mental ailments can be cured with these. Cool breeze and peaceful ambience is a welcome refreshment to all visitors. Also a walk in the temple premises takes you closer to magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
Regular buses ply from Coimbatore to the foothills of this temple. From bus stand at the foothill, one can take mini buses to reach the temple gate. The temple premises also houses a number of shops, try out local snacks.
10 km. from Coimbatore on main NH-209, Eachanari Vinayagar Temple is one of the oldest in the city and dedicated to Lord Vinayagar (Lord Ganesha).
Legend says that while Lord Vinayagar decided to stay at this place as the axle of the cart transporting the statue broke down at this spot. The deity 6 ft. x 3ft. was actually meant for Perur Patteeswara temple. All the south bound visitors stop here to pray as Lord Vinayagar is believed to be remover of hurdles in the path. Cladded in white temple structures has beautiful carved scriptures of Gods and Goddesses. A sneak preview of the Lord Ganesha.
Temple premises remain closed from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.
Next in line was that Dhyanlinga temple (23 km. from Eachanari Vinayagar temple) consecrated by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a yogi and a mystic. While driving towards this place we all of a sudden found ourselves in middle of a forest and started wondering whether we are on the right path.
However after driving for few more minutes we arrived at the Isha foundation campus, situated at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains in utterly peaceful environment. Check the entrance path flanked by beautiful trees on both sides of the walk way.
There is a huge statue of Lord Shiva at the entrance of the campus, which is actually being used more by visitors to get themselves clicked in front of Lord Shiva. Dhyanlinga temple houses the largest mercury based live Shivlinga, measuring 13 feet 9 inches in height. This temple attracts people of all faiths and from all over the world. India.
One can discover inner peace and benefits of meditation in the exceptionally calm environment here. There are beautiful scriptures in the campus which are soothing to senses...
(Photography is prohibited in the campus, above pictures are taken from the website for illustration)Yoga programs of various durations are held here and accommodation facilities are also offered at the centre. Occasion of Mahashivratri festival sees a grand celebration in which Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev also takes part and is attended by numerous dignitaries and people from around the world. Regular bus and taxi services are available from Coimbatore to reach Dhyanlinga temple.
Perur Patteeswara temple was on the way while returning from Dhyanlinga temple. This is also a very ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The hall of the temple has been carved with beautiful and rare scriptures. Sanctum of this temple is the result of joint efforts of Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijaynagar rulers during their respective reigns. (Temple premises remain closed from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM)
At a distance of 65 km. from Coimbatore, one can soak himself/ herself in the lavish natural waterfalls, called by name Monkey Falls. Monkey Falls is located near Aliyar Dam between Pollachi and Valparai road in the Anamalai Hills range.
Nestled in the lush green Anamalai ranges with rocky cliffs and Aliyar dam reservoir, this is an ideal destination to unwind your spirits and relax in the laps of nature.
Monkey Falls has got its name due to presence of large number of monkeys here; the actual name of this waterfall is Athirampalli Falls. The spot if full of energies and many people take bath in the medicated waters of this fall. Take care of your belongings, do not leave the window panes of your vehicles open or anything on your bikes.
The falls is easily accessible as all buses between Pollachi and Valparai stop here.
After enjoying for sometime at Monkey falls we started towards Arulmigu Masani Amman temple, 15 km. from Pollachi town. Visit to the Monkey Falls and Coimbatore is considered incomplete without praying at this sacred temple. The drive is amazingly pleasant with coconut trees on both sides of the road.
Dedicated to Goddess Parvati (Masani Amman), this is the only temple in the world where Goddess Parvati is lying down at her back and is watching the skies. The divine idol of Masani Amman attracts large number of devotees.
Anyone who has suffered financial losses or people hassled by enemies take bath; sport holy ashes of the shrine and grind red chillies in stone grinder of the temple are surely blessed by the Goddess. Check out the ladies offering red chilly powder at the pillar outside the temple sanctum.
People here submit their wishes on piece of paper to the temple priest, who in turn places the paper on the trident of the Goddess. It is believed that wishes submitted with pure heart and utmost devotion is fulfilled by the Goddess within 3 weeks.Also Lord Rama had offered prayers here when he was wandering around in the forests in search of Goddess Seeta, on the route to Lanka. There is a small market outside the temple premises.
While returning, a thought flashed in my mind that - The price of anything is the value of life you exchange for it. Time spent here in exploring the beautiful temples and exquisite natural surroundings which came as pleasant surprise was definitely worth every moment. Well maintained roads and exceptionally clean neighbourhoods is something worth emulating in other parts of the country too. Someone rightly said to me sometime “Southern part of India is altogether a different experience” Hats off to the diversity of my country...
Coimbatore is overnight from Chennai (510 km.) / Bangalore (325 km.) and is well connected by trains and roads. It is also strategically located in line to many hill stations like Ooty (90 km.), Coonoor (70 km.) and Valparai (110 km.). Also Guruvayur, site of famous Lord Krishna temple is 140 km. from Coimbatore.
Keep travelling Guys...