The 2.50 Km circular track on Race Course Rd is a paradise for walkers. It was renovated & beautified around 18 months ago. The track is now repaved with ornamental cement tiles & beautiful gardens have sprung up on either side. The maintenance of the gardens has been handed over to leading Corporates - each has been allocated stretches varying from 10-20 metres. The overall management of the walkers track rests with the Walkers Association which has a Secy & a President. An open air Walkers Gym is available to those who wish to exercise & develop their physique. A separate area is earmarked for those who wish to practice oratory in Tamil (Muthamizh Arangam) and an impromptu audience gathers around to listen & encourage these amateurs. This normally happens on Sunday evenings. There is also an enclosed playground for children –swings, slides, jungle jim, see saw, merry go round etc. Evenings finds large crowds gathering - children with supervising parents . Hawkers sell balloons, ground nuts & pop corn. The litter bins are choc a bloc and overflowing onto the pavement.
Cycles & Dogs/ pets are prohibited from entering the track. A brisk walk round the race course takes from 20-30 minutes depending on your pace. If you are early say around 5.00 am the crowd is less. As the morning progresses the crowd intensifies. You find quiet walkers & you find noisy & boisterous groups. You find walkers with hands free mobiles talking to themselves & those who quietly listen to music with ear phones plugged in. You also find those who enjoy their music loud with blaring transistor radios. You find young ones in track suits & old ones in shorts. You find walkers who walk, trot or run. You have morning walkers, noon walkers, dusk walkers and mid night walkers. You see people with long hair, short hair, black hair, grey hair & no hair. There are cement benches for those who wish to rest a while. There is a pebbled walkway for those who choose to walk barefoot looking for acu cures.
You find salesman trying to peddle their wares ranging from T-shirts to health drinks like arakampullu juice & masala tea to diet foods and slimming equipment & exercisers & stuffed toys. There is a chap who sells varieties of Keerai (ara keerai, mola keerai, palak etc) (spinach), Vazha Poo, Vazha Thandu , kari leaves & kotha malli. He starts his day 4.45 am (he claims he brings the stuff freshly picked from a nearby farm) & by 7.00 am is sold out. The menu for the day in many walkers homes is keerai machiyal or vazha poo kootu. I took keerai home today & we had keerai kootu for lunch.
You get see many significant and stately buildings and campuses as you go around. On the inner side of the track you go past Raheja Enclave,The Collectors Bungalow, Sri Saradambal Temple Complex, Govt Arts College Hostel, CSI Matriculation School, The CSI Church & Bishops residence, Cosmopolitan Club, Chief Engineer TWAD, IG’s Bungalow, the 101 Pillayar Temple. On the outer side across the road - Chamaraj Guest House, T.Stanes& Co, Bi-Metal Bearings, TAL & Amco Batteries, HDFC Bank, Income Tax Office, Jayams Hall, Defence Quarters, Govt Arts College,SBI Officers Colony, Restaurants like Barista, Café Coffee Day & Annalakshmi apart from many spacious private bungalows and commercial establishments. New structures built recently as part of the beautification program include replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Great Wall of China, Lotus Temple, Red Fort & Hawa Mahal. These monuments are well illuminated at night and transport you to fantasyland.
The density of walkers reduces to a trickle after 8.00 pm and deep & dark shadows fall on the track. Suddenly, as if appearing from nowhere, you see young couples romantically occupying the darkest spots amorously holding hands and engrossed in deep bilateral conversation-the walkers paradise is transformed to a lovers paradise !
The Coimbatore Race Course Road Walkers track is exciting, exhilarating, energizing - an unparalleled experience and a must for every resident of & every visitor to Coimbatore.