Coimbatore, also known as Kovai [koːʋəj], Covai is a major city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of the Noyyal River surrounded by the Western Ghats, it is the second largest city in the state after Chennai and 16th largest urban agglomeration in India. It is administered by the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation and is the administrative capital of Coimbatore district. It is one of the fastest growing tier-II cities in India and a major hub for textiles, industries, commerce, education, information technology, healthcare and manufacturing in Tamil Nadu. It is often referred to as the "Manchester of South India" due to its cotton production and textile industries. Coimbatore is also referred to as the "Pump City" and it supplies nearly half of India's requirements of motors and pumps. The city is one of the largest exporters of jewellery, wet grinders, poultry and auto components with "Coimbatore Wet Grinder" and "Kovai Cora Cotton" recognised as Geographical Indications by the Government of India.
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 Roman trade route that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu in South India. The medieval Cholas conquered the Kongu Nadu in the 10th century CE. The region was ruled by Vijayanagara Empire in the 15th century followed by the Nayaks who introduced the Palayakkarar system under which Kongu Nadu region was divided into 24 Palayams. In the later part of the 18th century, the Coimbatore region came under the Kingdom of Mysore and following the defeat of Tipu Sultan in the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the British East India Company annexed Coimbatore to the Madras Presidency in 1799. The Coimbatore region played a prominent role in the Second Poligar War (1801) when it was the area of operations of Dheeran Chinnamalai.
In 1804, Coimbatore was established as the capital of the newly formed Coimbatore district and in 1866 it was accorded municipality status with Robert Stanes as its Chairman. The city experienced a textile boom in the early 19th century due to the decline of the cotton industry in Mumbai. Post independence, Coimbatore has seen rapid growth due to industrialisation. Coimbatore was ranked the best emerging city in India by India Today in the 2014 annual Indian city survey. The city was ranked fourth among Indian cities in investment climate by Confederation of Indian Industry and 17th among the top global outsourcing cities by Tholons. Coimbatore has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission.
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