THE CITY OF MOUNTAINS
Salem, which is also called Mango city, is located at 11' 40 N and 78' 08 E about North Central part of the state. Salem is the fifth largest city in Tamil Nadu in terms of population after Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchirappalli respectively and fourth in terms of urbanisation. The area of the city is 100 km2 . It is the fifth Municipal Corporation and Urban agglomeration commissioned in Tamil Nadu . Salem Corporation consists of 60 wards categorized under 4 Zonal Offices namely Suramangalam , Hasthampatty , Ammapet and Kondalampatty Zonal. Salem is a part of Western Tamil Nadu and is located at the base of the popular tourist destination of the Yercaud hills.
Cheralam , Shalya, Sayilam and Sailam are found in inscriptions referring to the country around the hills. Salem and the hilly region around it were part of the Chera and The city was ruled by Kings who were known as the Kurunila Mannargal of ancient Tamil Nadu. Later, it was ruled by Gatti Mudalis Poligars who built some temples and forts in and around the city. In the early 18th century, after a long feud known as the Mysore-Madurai war, it 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detachment of the regiment stationed at Sankagiri Durg and remained a military station until 1861 when the troops were withdrawn.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 Dheeran Chinnamalai, places like Salem and Sankagiri were the scene of battle between Kongu forces and British allied forces. The legendary Kongu chieftain Dheeran Chinnamalai was hanged infamously in the Sankagiri fort on Aadi Padhinettu day which later became the army headquarters of the British.
The city of Salem is surrounded by hills on all sides viz. Nagaramalai to the north, Jarugumalai to the south, Kanjamalai to 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. The Thirumanimuthar river flows through the city.
As of the provisional population totals of 2011 census, Salem urban agglormeration had a population of 831,038. The sex ratio of the town was 987 females per 1,000 males. Salem had an average literacy rate of 84.8% with a male literacy of 89.72% and a female literacy of 79.48%. A total of 73,218 of the population of the city was under 6 years of age.
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 women 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
Salem is one of the most major producers of traditional silver anklets, which are popular among women.It boasts large textile,steel,automotive, poultry and sago industries. Salem also has one of the largest magnesite deposits in India. Companies like Dalmia and TANMAG have mines here.It has also got rich bauxite & mineral reserves. The Leigh Bazaar market is a large regional market for agro products. It also has rich industrial base with the Salem steel plant, SISCOL, MALCO, CHEMPLAST and the Thermal & Hydel power plant at Mettur contribute towards power supply to the state.
Silk and cotton fabrics from Salem are sold throughout Tamil Nadu and are a big buy. The Indian Institute of Handloom Technology, the second of its kind in India, is found here. Salem is one of the chief producers of customary silver anklets, which are a rage with the women-folk here. The Leigh Bazaar market is known for selling agricultural produce and is usually abounding with visitors and shoppers. Fabric exporting has been the oldest business in Salem, going back to the 30s. Salem has always been known for exporting fabrics and clothes and is still consistently doing so.Not only for Silk and Cotton the city of Salem is also the largest areas of mango production in India and the largest area of production of sago.
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 (SAIL is planning a Steel SEZ inside the Salem Steel plant covering about 250 acres .There is an exclusive Electrical and Electronics Industrial Estate in the Suramangalam area of Salem town.
Major National Highways origins from Salem are NH47 and NH68. Salem city and District is on NH7 which is the main transit hub to the city of Coimbatore, NH47 from Kanyakumari-Salem via Coimbatore making it a transit hub. It is also well connected to Chennai.Salem Junction is a very important railway station in the Southern Railway. Salem is connected by rail to all important cities and towns in the rest of the country. The station is well connected by buses to other parts of the city around the clock. Salem-Karur railway line was opened for rail traffic in May 2013 with that Salem-Karur Passenger train was also introduced.Salem Airport is located on Salem-Bangalore Highway (NH-7) in a place called Kaamalapuram near Omalur, which is about 20 km from the city.
Salem has several reputed educational institutions. Periyar University setup in 1997 is in charge of the Arts and Science colleges of the district. Large number of students come to Salem for higher education.