Salem, Tamil Nadu

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This article is about a city in India. For other uses, see Salem.
Salem Seelanaickenpati.jpg
Nickname(s): Steel City, Mango City
Salem is located in Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: 11°39′N 78°10′E / 11.65°N 78.16°E / 11.65; 78.16Coordinates: 11°39′N 78°10′E / 11.65°N 78.16°E / 11.65; 78.16
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Salem
 • Type Mayor–Council
 • Body Salem City Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor S. Soundappan (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam)
 • Corporation 124 km2 (48 sq mi)
Elevation 278 m (912 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Corporation 829,267
 • Density 8,036/km2 (20,810/sq mi)
 • Metro 919,150
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 636xxx
Telephone code +91-427
Vehicle registration TN-30,TN-52,TN-54,TN-90

Salem (About this sound pronunciation ) city is a part of Salem district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located about 160 kilometres (100 mi) northeast of Coimbatore, 186 kilometres (116 mi) southeast of Bangalore and about 340 kilometres (210 mi) southwest of the state capital, Chennai. Salem is the fifth largest city in Tamil Nadu in terms of population, after Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchirappalli respectively. The area of the city is 100 km2 (39 sq mi). It is the Fifth municipal corporation and urban agglomeration commissioned in Tamil Nadu after Chennai (Madras) (1919), Coimbatore (1981), Madurai (1971) and along with Tiruchirappalli (1994) and Tirunelveli (1994). As of 2011, the city had a population of 1,272,743.[2]


Cheralam, Shalya,Kurukshetra, Sayilam and Sailam are found in inscriptions referring to the country around the hills Nagarmalai in the north, Jeragamalai in the south, Kanjamalai in the west and Godumalai in the east. Locals claim Salem to be the birthplace of Tamil poetess Avvaiyar. Salem and the hilly regions around it were part of the Chera Dynasty and the city was ruled by kings known as the Kurunila Mannargal of ancient Tamil Nadu. It was later ruled by Gatti Mudalis Poligars who built a few temples and forts in and around the city.

In the early 18th century, after the Mysore-Madurai war, the region came under the rule of Hyder Ali. Subsequently, Salem was taken from Hyder Ali by Colonel Wood at the beginning of 1768. It was recaptured by Hyder Ali towards the end of the year 1772. Under Lord Clive in 1799, it was again occupied by a detachment of the regiment stationed at Sankagiri Durg and remained a military station until 1861 when the troops were withdrawn. During the times of Kongu Chieftain Dheeran Chinnamalai(First Freedom Fighter from Kongu Region of Tamil Nadu), places like Salem and Sankagiri were the scenes of battle between Kongu forces and British allied forces. Dheeran Chinnamalai was hanged infamously in the Sankagiri fort, which later became the army headquarters of the British.

According to Edgar Thurston[3] (Castes and Tribes of India Volume 5) the chola region was ruled by a series of twenty eight kings before being conquered by the Cholas of Tanjore, citing the earliest portion of the chola Chronicle – chola Desa Rajakkal (a manuscript in The Mackenzie Collection) which contains a series of short notes of the reigns of all the kings who ruled the country from the start of the Christian era till its conquest by the Cholas. These kings belonged to two distinct dynasties: the earlier line of the Solar race which had a succession of seven kings of the Ratti or Reddi tribe, and the later line of the Ganga race. Salem was ruled by tagatur king and in 8-12th century AD sale was ruled by cholas.


Salem had a population of 826,267 as of the 2011 census (05740). There were 987 females for every 1,000 males, significantly above the national average of 929.[4] A total of 79,067 were under the age of six, constituting 40,570 males and 38,497 females.The average literacy of the city was 76.37%, compared to the national average of 72.99%.[4] The city had a total of 215,747 households. There were a total of 332,147 workers: 1599 cultivators, 3040 main agricultural laborers, 32,597 in household industries, 278,892 other workers, 16,019 marginal workers, 165 marginal cultivators, 544 marginal agricultural laborers, 1937 marginal workers in household industries and 13,373 other marginal workers.[1]

Geography and Climate[edit]

Salem is located at 11°40′10″N 78°08′27″E / 11.669437°N 78.140865°E / 11.669437; 78.140865.[5] The average elevation is 278 m (912 ft). The city is surrounded by hills on all sides, namely, Nagaramalai in the north, Jarugumalai in the south, Kanjamalai in the west, Godumalai to the east and the Shevaroy Hills to the north east. The Kariyaperumal Hill is situated within the city to the southwest. Thirumanimuthar river flows through the city, dividing it into two parts. The fort area is the oldest part of the town. Salem local planning area extends up to 100 km2 (39 sq mi) within the city .

Salem receives scanty rainfall and a dry climate. Salem has moderate-dry weather throughout except during the monsoon season. Generally, the first two months of the year are pleasant, with summer beginning around March. The highest temperatures normally occur during May. This period of time sees scanty rainfall. The climate becomes more temperate during June–July period. During this pre-monsoon period, the mercury reverses its upward trend, and by August, the sky becomes overcast, heavily, but the rains are meager. The northeast monsoon sets in vigorously during September–November; by December, the rains disappear, rendering the climate clear and pleasant.

Climate data for Salem, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.3
Average low °C (°F) 19.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 24.9
Source: Indian Meteorological Department[6]

Municipal administration[edit]

Municipal corporation officials
Mayor S. Soundappan[7]
Commissioner M. Ashokan[8]
Deputy Mayor M. Natesan[9]
Member of Legislative Assembly
Salem North R. Mohan Raj[10]
Salem West M. K. Selvaraju[11]
Salem South G. Venkatachalam[12]
Member of Parliament
Salem MP V. Pannerselvam[13]

Salem is the headquarters of the Salem District. The town was constituted as a municipality 1867, promoted to special-grade during 1966 and as a municipal corporation from 1 April 1994. The Salem municipal corporation has 60 wards and there is an elected councillor for each of those wards.[14] The functions of the municipal corporation are devolved into six departments: general administration/personnel, Engineering, Revenue, Public Health, city planning and Information Technology (IT). All these departments are under the control of a Municipal Commissioner who is the executive head.[15] The legislative powers are vested in a body of 60 members, one each from the 60 wards.[16] The legislative body is headed by an elected Chairperson assisted by a Deputy Chairperson.[17]

Salem is a part of Salem North, Salem West and Salem South assembly constituencies that were newly after the constituency delimitations 2008.[18] The city elects the three members to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly once every five years.[19] The current MLAs are R. Mohan Raj (Salem North) from Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam party, M.K.Selavaraju (Salem West) from All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam party (ADMK) and G.Venkatachalam (Salem South) from the ADMK party[10][11][12]

Till 2008, the city was part of Salem I and Salem II assembly constituencies. From the 1977 elections, All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won the Salem I assembly seat five times (in 1977, 1980, 1984, 2001 and 2006 elections), two times by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (in 1989 and 1996 elections) and once by Indian National Congress (INC) (in 1991 elections).[20] From the 1977 elections, All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won the Salem II assembly seat three times (in 1980, 1984 and 1991 elections), three times by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (in 1989, 1996 and 2006 elections) and once each by Janata Party (JP) (in 1977 elections) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) (in 2001 elections).[21]

Salem is a part of the Salem (Lok Sabha constituency) – it has the following six assembly constituencies – Omalur, Salem North, Salem South, Salem West, Veerapandi and Edappadi.[22] From the 1952 elections, the Salem parliament seat was held by the Indian National Congress for eight times (during 1952, 1957, 1962, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 2004 elections), ADMK four times (during 1977, 1991, 2009 and 2014 elections), DMK three times (during 1967, 1971 and 1980 elections), and an once each by an independent (during 1998 elections) and Tamil Maanila Congress (during 1996 elections).[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35] The current Member of Parliament from the constituency is V. Paneerselvam from the ADMK party.[13]

Law and order in the city in maintained by the Salem sub division of the Tamil Nadu Police headed by a Deputy Superintendent. There are four police stations in the town, with one of them being an all-female police station. There are special units like prohibition enforcement, district crime, social justice and human rights, district crime records and special branch that operate at the district level police division headed by a Superintendent of Police.[36]


Salem has established itself as one of the major textile centers in Tamil Nadu with more than 125 spinning mills, modern weaving units and garment units.The history of handloom and spinning mills dates back to pre-independence period in Salem. But till 1960s, Salem has less than 5 established spinning mills. Post 1960, private handloom weaving began to thrive in the region along with the large scale cooperative sector handloom weaving and marketing units. Small scale hand dying units were started around the region to support the industry. Around 1980s, the textile industry saw a massive growth and, many major spinning mills and waste spinning units were built to support the industry. Many handloom societies and dying houses were established during the same time period. New and increased number of power loom units mushroomed in Gugai, Ammapet, Attayampatti, Vennandur, Magudanchavadi, Rasipuram, Komarapalayam Pallipalayam, Jalakandapuram and Ellampillai.[37]

The Salem region also houses the Tamil Nadu's largest number of Sago industries which are engaged in the production of sago foods and starch.In the district of Salem alone, tapioca is cultivated in 34000 hectares of land, the raw material for the sago industries and, there are 650 industrial units engaged in tapioca processing. In 1981, Salem Starch and Sago Manufacturers Service Industrial Co-operative Society Limited (popularly called as SAGOSERVE) was established to promote the growth of sago industries. Nearly 80% of the national demand for sago and starch is met by the SAGOSERVE.[38] In and around Salem, the yield of tapioca, is about 25–30 tons per hectare, one of the highest in the world. The national average of the tapioca yield is 19 tons per hectare, and the world average production stands at 10 tons per hectare.[39]

Salem Steel Plant, a steel unit of Steel Authority of India Limited is located in Salem involved in the production of cold rolled stainless steel and hot rolled stainless steel/carbon steel. Expansion and modernization of Salem Steel Plant is currently being undertaken. The plan envisages installation of steel melting and continuous casting facilities.[40] Southern Iron & Steel Company Ltd (JSW Steel Ltd) have their first integrated steel plant located Salem for the production of TMT corrosion resistant bars/alloy steels.[41] [42]

The region around Salem is rich in mineral ores. Salem has one of the largest magnesite and bauxite deposits in India. It has many magnesite factories operated by private and public sectors such as Burn Standard & Co, Dalmia Magnesites and Tata Refractories.[43] The Leigh Bazaar market in Salem is the biggest regional market for agro products. Narasus coffee (famous coffee in Tamil Nadu), Nandhi Dall Mills (oldest flour mill company), BSP refineries (Usha Refined Sunflower Oil) are other few companies having their presence in Salem.

Being one of the fastest growing tier II cities, the Tamil Nadu government and ELCOT are planning to establish an IT park in Salem covering about 160 acres (0.65 km2).[44][45] SAIL is planning a Steel SEZ inside the Salem Steel plant covering about 250 acres (1.0 km2)[46] There is an exclusive Electrical and Electronics Industrial Estate in the Suramangalam area of Salem city.[47] Coimbatore-Erode-Salem stretch was well known for Industries and Textile processings and it is announced as Coimbatore-Salem Industrial Corridor and further development works are carried by SIPCOT Linking Scheme.

Religious places[edit]

Many well-known temples are located in vicinity of Salem. Kottai Mariamman Temple is located in town area is the historic Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Mariamman. A yearly festival during the Tamizh month of Aadi is celebrated for five days. The main Raja Gopuram of this temple is made up of seven tiers.

Sugavaneshwarar temple is another important temple located in Salem City. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Mythology records that sage Sugha Brahmarishi worshiped the lord here. Arunagirinadhar has sung a song on Lord Muruga in Sugavaneshwarar temple. It was constructed during 13th Century by Mamannan Sundara Pandiyan.[48]

Kottai perumal temple, Skandhashram, Kothandaramar temple, Sithar Koil are other important temples located in Salem. OOthumali Murugan temple, Pandurangan Hill temple, Kumaragiri Hill Murugan temple, Kariperumal Karadu Hill temple are the other temples located in the small hill rocks in Salem. ISKON has built a new temple in Karuppur near Salem.[49]

Jama Masjid is the oldest mosque in Salem, situated on the southern bank of the Thirumanimutharu River in the heart of the city. It was reportedly built by the Mysore ruler, Tippu Sulthan, who is said to have offered prayers here. The Masjid Inam granted to this mosque was confirmed by the British in 1862 by a special resolution in 1880.

Lechler Memorial Church, the oldest church in Salem was built in 1856 by German missionary Lechler in Fort salem. Infant Jesus Church a famous church is situated near Four Roads and The Calvary Assembly of God Church is situated at Bangalore high way, Mamangam, Reformed Baptist Church is situated in the Foothills of Yercaud.[50]

Shopping and recreation[edit]

The traditional shopping areas of Salem City are located in the Town area. Many big retailers have their shops located in Bazaar Street,Car Street, First Agraharam and Chinna Kadai Street of the Town. Shevapet and Fort area are famous for hardware and furniture products. Leigh Bazaar in Shevapet is the main wholesale market dealing with commodities in Salem. In recent times many retailers have their showrooms opening in Swarnapuri area of the City. Major brands such as Adidas, The Marker, Nike, Puma, Lee, Pepe Jeans, Reebok, Levi's, Basics, John Players have their outlets located in the Saradha College Road. Recently, the Reliance Shopping Mall was opened near 5 Roads to become the biggest shopping complex of the city.

Many shopping malls located in Salem City are relatively small in size. A few of them are kandaswarna mega mall, Maruthi Plaza,Ramani Shopping Plaza, Pookoodai Shopping Complex,V V Shopping Plaza, Kandaswarna Shopping Mall, Chamundi Super Market & Reliance Greenfield Mall is the biggest mall and first of its kind in the city with total area of 400,000 sq ft.[51]

There are very few sources of entertainment in the city. Kurumbapatti Zoological Park and Anna Park are the two main parks run by Government. Anna Park is an entertainment centre focused on children. Panamarathupatti lake is another recreation spot located near the city. Paravasa Ulagam and Dream Land are the two Amusement parks located around the city which attracts fair amount of visitors.[52]

Hill station Yercaud is in Salem district and is 36 km from the Salem city.



Main article: salem NH-68

In Salem City, there are six major arterial roads : Omalur Road, Cherry Road, Saradha College Road, Junction Main Road, Gugai Main Road and Attur Road. Three important National Highways pass through/originate from Salem. NH 7 (Varanasi – Kanyakumari), NH 47 (Salem – Kanyakumari via Coimbatore, Kochi, Kollam), NH 68 (Salem – Ulundurpet).[53] NH68 is the preferred route to travel from Salem to Chennai. All National Highways in four directions of the City consist of four lanes. Other important roads that originated from the city are the state highways : SH168 (Yercaud Road) and SH18 (Tirupattur Road). Salem is the headquarters of the TNSTC Division 1, Salem (SLM-DIV-I) and Division 2, Dharmapuri (SLM-DIV-II).Salem has the maximum number of buses plying to Bangalore, Mettur dam, Hyderabad and Tirupati in Tamil Nadu only after Chennai. There are two major bus stations in Salem : MGR Integrated Bus Terminus (Central Bus Stand) located in the Meyyanoor area and Town Bus Station (Old Bus Stand) which is located in the Town Area in the heart of Salem. All mofussil, intercity and interstate routes originate from Central Bus Stand, while town buses originate from town bus stand. Anna Flyover situated near GH is oldest flyover in the City. Trumpet Interchange was constructed in the new alignment of NH 47 to ease the traffic movement towards Coimbatore and Cochin.


Main article: Salem Junction
Salem Junction

Salem Junction is located in Suramangalam, 5 km to the west of Salem Town. The Salem Junction is well connected to major Indian cities like Chennai, Mettur Dam, Coimbatore, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Howrah, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kollam, Rajkot, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Kanpur and Patna,Mangalore, Trichy, Tirupur, Erode, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Karur. Salem Town is the another important station located in town area in Virduchalam line. For better administrative control and improved development and operational reasons, the Railway Board approved the creation of a new Railway Division with Salem as headquarters in 2005 to improve railway infrastructure, facilities (lacking since several decades) and introduce better train services, thus satisfying the long felt needs of railway passengers in and around surrounding areas and thereby providing better conveniences to rail travelers.It is now the fourth largest of all the six divisions of the Southern Railway and was carved out of the Palakkad and Tiruchirapalli divisions.[54]

Danishpet Railway Station Danishpet is one of the oldest villages in Kadayampatti Panchayat, in Omalur Taluk and Salem district of Tamil Nadu in India. The name “Danishpet” is living witness for the Indio Danish relationship. The Danishpet Railway Station made the village much more popularity in India. The Danish Missionary Rev. Morten Bonneland Andersen (1861–1931) with his wife Ellen Barbara D’Abreu (1863–1932) (who was one of the first three lady doctors in India) settled there in about 1890, in small thatched huts. His service for these remote villages impressed the British government in India; it was the reason, Kadayampatti Railway station was renamed “Danishpet” Railway station in order to honor the first Danish Missionary in this small village. From 19th century onwards, the regular visits and the permanent stay of the Danish missionaries and their large acquirements of land in these areas, was yet another reason to be named Danishpet.


Salem Airport (India) (IATA: SXV, ICAO: VOSM) is located on Salem-Bangalore Highway (NH-7) in a place called Kaamalapuram near Omalur, which is about 20 km from the city. Though the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had spruced up the airport and made it ready for operation in 1993, airlines did not show interest to fly fearing low patronage. Kingfisher Airlines did provide a service from Chennai, but terminated the service in 2012 owing to its financial problems. In recent times however, TruJet has shown some interest in starting flights from Salem.

The nearest major airports are Tiruchirapalli TRZ (152 km), Coimbatore CJB (159 km), Bengaluru BLR (235 km) and Chennai MAA (324 km).


Salem has several reputed educational institutions. Periyar University, set up in 1997, is in charge of the Arts and Science colleges of the district.[55] Government College of Engineering is one of the oldest Engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu and was started in the year 1966. Both the Government College of Engineering and Periyar University are located adjacent to each other on NH7 approximately 10 km away from the city centre. Mohan Kumaramangalam Medical College or MKMC is the Government Medical college located on Salem steel plant road. Sona College of Technology, a famous private engineering college is located at Junction main road. The college is recognized by AICTE and affiliated to Anna university.


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External links[edit]