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Salem Tourism

Salem may be the fifth largest city in Tamil Nadu in terms of its area but is largest when it comes to breathtaking natural beauty and tranquil holy shrines. There are several famous Hindu temples – Kottai Mariamman Temple, Sugavaneshwarar Temple, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), to name a few. The city also houses several noteworthy mosques and churches.

Located in the Salem district, the city is also surrounded by metropolises at a very short distance – Bangalore, in Karnataka is only 186 km away while Coimbatore, another major city in Tamil Nadu is located 160 km away. Salem is located 340 km away from the capital, Chennai.

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Salem derives its name from 'Sailam' which translates to "a place surrounded by mountain ranges." In the earlier times, the Chera Dynasty ruled over the town and the surrounding mountain areas and was inclusively involved in trades with the Roman Empire. Polygars took over later and built many forts and temples during their governance. Salem was under the Vijayanagara empire but was soon seized in the eighteenth century by Hyder Ali. The area was handed over to the British in 1768 until 1947 when India got its independence and Salem became a part of Salem district.


Placed at an average elevation of 280 meters Salem is a city surrounded by hills in all directions. On the north lies Nagaramalai, Jarugumalai is towards the south, The west side is covered by Kanjamalai, and Godumalai and Shevaroy Hills lies on east and northeast respectively. The southwest is covered by Kariyaperumal Hill. The fort area of Salem is considered to be the oldest part. Flowing through the city; River Thirumanimutharu divides the city into two parts.

Restaurants and Local Food in Salem

People in Salem believe in feeding others before feeding themselves. Their cuisine is rich in dishes prepared with rice, lentils, and legumes. Most dishes have tamarind in it as a souring agent. Being a part of Tamil Nadu, Salem has the same authentic south Indian cuisine found elsewhere in the state. Hence, Idli, dosa, vada, and uttapam are everyday breakfast dishes accompanied with sambar or curd. The best local dish in Salem is Thattu Vadai Set. It is a street food item famous all over south India. It is a crispy and savoury dish prepared with deeply fried rice flour doughs topped with green and red chutney. The dish is also garnished with carrots, onions, and beetroots for a punch of flavours.

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