Salem District is a district of Tamil Nadu state in southern India. Salem, is the district headquarters and other major towns in the district includes Mettur, Omalur and Attur. Salem is surrounded by hills and the landscape dotted with hillocks. Salem has a vibrant culture dating back to the ancient Salem Nadu ruled by Mazhavar kings. As a district, Salem has its significance in various aspects; it is known for mango cultivation, silver ornaments, textile, sago industries and steel production.
Salem is the headquarters for Salem district in the Indian state of Tamilnadu. 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 sixth largest city in Tamil Nadu by population and covers 100 km2 (39 sq. mi).
According to 2011 census, Salem district had a population of 3,482,056 with a sex-ratio of 954 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 344,960 were under the age of six, constituting 180,002 males and 164,958 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 16.67% and 3.43% of the population respectively. The average literacy of the district was 65.64%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The district had a total of 915,967 households. There were a total of 1,694,160 workers, comprising 247,011 cultivators, 396,158 main agricultural labourers, 132,700 in house hold industries, 785,161 other workers, 133,130 marginal workers, 9,993 marginal cultivators, 58,052 marginal agricultural labourers, 8,803 marginal workers in household industries and 56,282 other marginal workers.
Geography & Climate
Salem is located at 11.669437°N 78.140865°E, at an average elevation of 278 m (912 ft.). The city is surrounded by hills: Nagaramalai on the north, Jarugumalai on the south, Kanjamalai on the west, Godumalai on the east and the Shevaroy Hills on the northeast. Kariyaperumal Hill is in south western Salem. The Thirumanimutharu River flows through the city, dividing it in two. The fort area is the oldest part of Salem.
The city's climate is dry, except during the monsoon season. January and February are generally pleasant; the dry summer begins in March, with the year's highest temperatures during May. The weather becomes more temperate in June and July, and August is cloudy but still dry. The northeast monsoon occurs from September to November, and December is clear and pleasant.
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1. Municipalities (4):
· Narasingapuram ( 3rd Grade)
2. Panchayat Unions (20):
3. Town Panchayats (33):
While Salem West, Salem South, and Pethanaickenpalayam, are newly formed taluks, Mecheri (not formed and under process) people of Tharamangalam are demanding taluk status.
Salem district has many educational institutions including government schools, private schools (Holy Cross - Ammapet, Yercaud Montfort, St. John’s MHSS, Jayarani GHSS, Cluny convent, Srk Matric & hr. secondary school, Malco vidhyalaya, MAM matric & hr. sec school (Mettur dam), Gv Matric & hr. sec school, St. Maries school, Vaideeswara hr. sec school (Mettur RS), Pkmghs school (Madhanaicken patti) and hundred years traditional institution Government arts college (autonomous) salem-7, Government arts college for women, salem8, Sri Sarada college for women, Vysya College, Jairam arts and science college, Thiagarajar Polytechnic college (Autonomous), Sona college of Engineering (Autonomous), Engineering colleges including the Government College of Engineering and Periyar University.
Salem has several educational institutions with arts and science colleges affiliated to Periyar University founded in 1997. The Government College of Engineering was founded in 1966.
The Salem handloom industry is one of the most ancient cottage industries and producing quality sari, Dhothi and angavastram out of silk yarn and cotton yarn. In the recent past, home furnishing items are also woven, mainly for export purposes. More than 75,000 handlooms are working and the total value of cloth produced per annum is estimated at Rs.5, 000 crores. With more than 125 spinning mills, with modern weaving units and garment units Salem established itself as one of the major textile center in Tamilnadu.
The history of handloom and spinning mills dates back to pre-independence period in Salem. But till 1960s there were fewer than 5 spinning mills. Private handloom weaving started thriving 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 grew significantly.
Many major spinning mills and waste spinning units came up into existence. Many Handloom societies and dying houses were established. New and increased numbers of Power Loom units were mushroomed in the places like Gugai, Ammapet, Attayampatti, Vennandur, Magudanchavadi, Rasipuram, Komarapalayam Pallipalayam, Jalakandapuram and Ellampillai.
The Salem region also houses the Tamilnadu largest number of Sago industries which are engaged in the production Sago Foods and Starch. In Salem District alone, 34000 hectares of land is under tapioca cultivation which is the raw material for the sago industries and there are 650 units engaged in tapioca processing. In and around Salem the yield of tapioca is about 25-30 T/ha, highest in the World.
National average is 19 T/ha and World average production stands at 10 T/ha. Hence it is called land of sago. In 1981, Salem Starch and Sago Manufacturers Service Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd (popularly called as SAGOSERVE) were established to promote the growth of sago industries. Nearly 80% of the national demand for Sago and Starch is being met by the Sagoserv.
Salem Steel Plant, a special steel unit of Steel Authority of India Ltd have their plant located in Salem which produces Cold rolled stainless steel and Hot rolled stainless steel/carbon steel. The plant can produce austenitic, ferritic, martensitic and low-nickel stainless steel in the form of coils and sheets with an installed capacity of 70, 000 tonnes /year in Cold Rolling Mill and 1, 86,000 tonnes / year in Hot Rolling Mill. In addition, the plant has country's first top-of-the-line stainless steel blanking facility with a capacity of 3,600 tonnes / year of coin blanks and utility blanks/circles.
Expansion and modernisation of Salem Steel Plant is ongoing. The plan envisages installation of Steel Melting and Continuous Casting facilities to produce 1,80,000 tonnes of slabs along with expansion of Cold Rolling Mill complex, enhancing the capacity of Cold Rolled Stainless Steel Products from 65,000 TPA to 1,46,000 TPA and an additional Roll Grinding Machine for Hot Rolling Mill for increasing production to 3,64,000 TPA. The total project area is 1130 acres and cost of the project is 1780 crores.
Southern Iron & Steel Company Ltd (joint venture with JSW Steel) the first integrated steel plant of India at a cost of 2,235 Crores, located near Salem for the production of TMT corrosion resistant bars/alloy steels. The Salem plant is the largest special steel plant in India aims to develop the Kanjamalai, Kavuthimalai and Vediappanmalai iron ore mines in Tamil Nadu on receipt of requisite approvals to improve raw material security. This will facilitate expansion of production capacity to 2 MTPA. It will also allow the unit to diversify into the production of value-added products such as annealed, drawn and peeled steel. The plant is continuously working to develop special grades for critical automotive applications.
The Madras Aluminium Company Ltd (MALCO) is part of Vedanta Resources Plc., a London Stock Exchange listed FTSE 100 diversified metals and mining major. MALCO has a state-of-the-art, coal-based Captive Power Plant at the same location which was commissioned in the year 1999. In the year 2004 MALCO augmented its smelter capacity from earlier 25,000TPA to 40,000TPA. It generates 100 MW power from 4 units of 25MW each through power plant located at Mettur, Tamil Nadu. Around 90% of the entire power generated is exported; the rest is used internally. Efficient plant operations enabled MALCO to achieve a higher plant load factor since existence.
The region around Salem is rich in mineral ores. Salem has one of the largest magnesite, and bauxite and also iron ore deposits in India. It has many magnesite factories operated by private and public sectors such as Burn Standard & Co, Dalmia Magnesites and Tata Refractories, SAIL refractories. The Leigh Bazaar market in Salem is the biggest regional market for agro products. Narasus coffee one of the famous coffee in Tamil Nadu, Nandhi Dall Mills the oldest flour mill company, BSP refineries (Usha Refined Sunflower Oil) are other few companies have 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). SAIL is planning a Steel SEZ inside the Salem Steel plant covering about 250 acres (1.0 km2). There is an exclusive Electrical and Electronics Industrial Estate in the Suramangalam area of Salem city. Coimbatore-Erode-Salem stretch was well known for Industries and Textile processing’s and it is announced as Coimbatore-Salem Industrial Corridor and further development works are carried by SIPCOT Linking .
The Stanley Reservoir:
An architectural marvel and important land mark in the Mettur Division of Salem, it is the heart that pumps the life giving water to the farmers of the Cauvery basin who suffer the vagaries of Indian monsoons. The sixteen Gates is an Engineering master-piece and regulates the flow of water released from the Mettur Dam to the lower reaches covering the paddy fields in the eight districts of Salem, Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Tiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam.
The Salem Steel Plant:
This was an ambitious project started with a view to utilize the locally available iron-ore from Kanchamalai to produce steel. Now it is a public sector company engaged in rolling out cast steel blacks into sheets of required dimensions by cold and hot extrusion methods.
The district is rich in mineral deposits like Magnesite, Bauxite, Granite, Limestone, Quartz and Iron ore. Allied industries like Magnesite mining, cement manufacture, refractory bricks manufacture, Aluminium smelting etc. thrive well.
Many agricultural products from Salem have a wide spread market throughout the country.
Mango fruits from Salem are enjoyed and much sought after, specially the variety Malgoa - which is the pride of Salem besides a number of other newly introduced hybrid varieties.
Tapioca locally known as Maravalli (or) Kuchi Kilangu is extensively cultivated by the farmers of Salem. Salem holds a monopoly in Tapioca production. The tubers are used primarily to produce starch. A variety of food items like chips, fryums, papads, Noodles and vermicelli are also produced from tapioca. Tapioca and castor Research centre functioning in Salem is engaged in Research and Development activities to produce high yielding and disease resistant varieties.
Sago - serve is run by the Government, to provide a competitive market where farmers gain a broader profit margin without to hassle of the middle-men dealings.
Coffee: The slopes of Yercaud hills are covered with vast plantations of coffee, shaded by silver Oak trees, Narasus coffee – a popular brand has its origin in Salem.
Santalum album species of Sandal wood grows in the forests of Salem. They fetch high prices as their heart woods yield high oil content about 6% (average). The Mysore Sandal soap company is a noted buyer of Sandal woods from Salem.
The Sheep Research station located at Mecheri in Mettur developed and introduced the popular Mecheri Breed. The breed is popular among the farmers and is reared mainly for meat purposes.
Salem Diary has an impressive milk production and the district stands first in milk production. A variety of milk products have been introduced by the Diary recently and are effectively marketed.
Production of un-bleached sugar-vellam or Nattu Sarkarai – is a major cottage industry among the sugarcane cultivators of Salem.
Rope making is another major cottage industry. Ropes are made by people out of the fibers of coconut, Aloe Vera, Cotton, Jute. Salem has a sizeable weaver population and weaving is an important house hold industry here. Both silk and cotton fabrics woven in Salem find popular market throughout the State.
The Ammapet weaver’s co-operative society has a turnover of 2.40 crores and its main products are cotton Sarees, bed sheets, towels, silk Sarees and dhotis.
Silver works: Making of Silver ornaments and artifacts by hand work is an important cottage industry in Salem. Silver anklets made in Salem are popular throughout the country.
Salem has a number of Hindu temples. The Kottai Mariamman Temple, dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, has an annual five-day festival during the Tamizh month of Aadi (mid-July to mid-August). The temple's gopuram is made up of seven tiers. Sugavaneshwarar Temple is dedicated to Shiva, and according to mythology the sage Sugha Brahmarishi worshiped here. Arunagirinathar sang a song about Muruga in the temple, which was built during the 13th century by Mamannan Sundara Pandiyan.
Kottai Perumal Temple, Skandhashram, Kothandaramar Temple and Sithar Koil are also in Salem. Oothumalai Murugan Temple, Pandurangan Hill Temple, Kumaragiri Hill Murugan Temple and Kariyaperumal Karadu Hill Temple are in the hills in Salem. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has built a temple in Karuppur, near the city.
Jama Masjid, on the southern bank of the Thirumanimutharu River in the heart of the city, is Salem's oldest mosque. It was reportedly built by the Mysore ruler Tippu Sultan, who is said to have prayed here. The masjid Inam granted to the mosque in 1862 was confirmed by the British with a special resolution in 1880. Christ Church, is located on Fort Road and the church was consecrated in 1875.
The other popular churches in and around the city includes Lechler Memorial Church, the oldest church in Salem, was built in 1856 by a German missionary in Fort Salem. Infant Jesus Church near Four Roads, the Calvary Assembly of God Church on the Bangalore highway in Mamangam and Reformed Baptist Church in the Yercaud foothills are other churches in the city.
Many temples with intricate sculptures and imposing towers are found in the district of Salem, built by indigenous ruler’s centuries before the British era. Some of the popular temples are the Taramangalam Shivan Temple in Omalur and the Sukhavaneswarar temple, Kottai Mariamman temple, Prasanna Venkatesha Perumal temple in Salem.
Shopping & Recreation
Salem's traditional shopping areas are in the Town area, with major retailers in Bazaar Street, Car Street, First Agraharam and Chinna Kadai Street. Shevapet and the Fort area are noted for hardware and furniture, and Leigh Bazaar in Shevapet is the main wholesale market. Reliance Shopping Mall, the city's largest shopping complex is situated near Five Roads. Kurumbapatti Zoological Park and Anna Park are government-run parks. Paravasa Ulagam and Dream Land are amusement parks in the city. Salem was once a popular Tinsel town where the earlier Tamil movies were created in the Modern Theatres.
The people of Salem are great movie viewers and the popularity of cinema is evident from the fact that there are nearly a hundred and odd Theatres in the district-perhaps the largest in any district.
Places of Interest
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