Coimbatore, also known as Kovai, 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 the largest city in the Kongunadu region.
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.