Salem is the sixth largest city in Tamil Nadu with an area cover of 100 sq. kilometers. It is at a distance of 160km from Coimbatore and 340km from Chennai, the two most important cities in the state. Bangalore is situated 186km northwest of Salem. The city is famous for stainless steel. Salem is the base of the renowned tourist destination with breathtaking views and beautiful sites. The city is surrounded by a natural amphitheater of hills formed by the Jeragamalai to the south, the Godumalai to the east, the Nagaramalai to the north and the Kanjanamalai to the west.
Salem was ruled by kings known as the Kurunila Mannargal till 18th century. It was later ruled by Gatti Mudalis who built temples and forts in and around the city. Salem is the place of birth of the famous Tamil poet Avvaiyar. The region was ruled by Hyder Ali during the early 18th century after the Mysore-Madurai war. Salem and Sankagiri were the sites of battles between Kongu Nadu (Coimbatore and Erode) soldiers led by Dheeran Chinnamalai and the British. Chinnamalai was hanged in the Sankagiri fort, which later became the British army headquarters.
Places to visit in Salem district
Salem has lot of natural and historical places that can be visited including temples, lakes, dams and hills.
Yercaud is the one of the most popular hill stations in Tamil Nadu located at a distance of 22km from Salem. The Botanical Survey of India runs coffee plantations along the ranges of this place. The highest point of these hills is the site of the Servarayan Temple.
These hills are known as Kolli Malai or the Mountain of Death. The highest point in the hills is at an elevation of 1300 meters from sea level. Earlier literature records suggest the presence of Kollippavai, the spirit of a maiden who lured people with her beauty and then killed them. The mountain is a site of pilgrimage because of the Arapaleeswarar temple which is believed to have a secret path to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram.
Hogenakkal is a place in Dharmapuri which is regarded as chief picnic spot where the Cauvery River enters Tamil Nadu. It forms an island where one stream continues and plunges into a deep gorge to create a lovely falls. The spray of this waterfall forms clouds of droplets which look like smoke arising from the rocks.
Mettur obtained its name due to the undulating rocky nature of the land in this part of the state. The Mettur Dam on Cauvery River is the major source of water for north and central Tamil Nadu. The water from the dam is mainly used for agricultural activities. Built in 1934, it is one of the oldest dams in India. Mettur is considered to be a popular tourist attraction as the place is surrounded by hills.
Located on the southern banks of River Thirumanimuthu, Jama Masjid is the oldest mosque in Salem. The mosque is said to have been built by Tipu Sultan, the Mysore ruler who is also considered to have offered prayers at this mosque. It was re-named as Masjid Inam by the British Government in 1862.
It’s one of the historical attractions of Salem situated 30 kms away from the city. The place has weapons, pistols and jewels of some of the kings who ruled the region. Most notably, possessions of Tipu Sultan and Theeran Chinnamalai are preserved in the fort.
Kottai Mariamman Temple
The Kottai Mariamman Temple with its presiding deity Goddess Kottai Mariamman is located in the heart of the city. The Shevapet Mariamman Temple Car Festival held between the months of July and August is a famous temple festival that draws thousands of people from all over the state.
How to visit Salem
The city of Salem is well-connected by roads and rails. The Salem Junction station is the nearest railway station to the city. Located in the suburb of Suramangalam, the station is 5 kms away from the city. It connects all the major railway stations in the state. Salem can be reached via road from Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore and Trivandrum. Regular buses ply to and from Salem which makes commutation easy for passengers.