Kovai was once ruled by the
Irula chieftains and was known
by the name Kovan patti (a part of the Kongu region);
Coimbatore, christened by the British was once known
In the first century CE, this area was ruled by local
chieftains; artifacts from trade carried out by these
people with the Romans of that period are housed in
local museums in the area.
It is believed that the Chola monarch Karikaal Cholan
built the sanctum of this temple in around 500 CE,
housing the Shivalingam which is the center of worship
today. This temple was visited by the Saivite saint
Sundarar in the 9th century (although there is no
existing set of 10 hymns or patikam discovered yet).
The Cholas of the 10th and 11th centuries made further
additions to this temple. In this period, the Cholas
also built the Sangameswara temple in the heart of
Inscriptions from around the 13th century CE testify
to the contributions made by the Chera rulers to this
temple during that time.
This temple was patronized later by the Hoysalas of
Karnataka and by the Vijayanagar rulers; it was during
the time of the Vijayanagar patronage that a number of
people speaking Telugu and Kannada migrated to the
Coimbatore area. It was in the 17th century CE that
the ruler Alagadri Nayaka of Madurai built the
Kanakasabha mandapam with exquisite sculptural work.