Salem (Tamil: ) is a city and a Municipal Corporation in Salem district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Salem, which is also called Mango city, is located in the North Central part of the state, about southwest of the state capital, Chennai. Salem is the fifth biggest city in Tamil Nadu in terms of population after Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchirappalli respectively. The area of the city is . It is the fifth Municipal Corporation and Urban agglomeration commissioned in Tamil Nadu after Chennai (year 1919), Madurai (1971), Coimbatore (1981), and Tiruchirappalli (1994) respectively. Salem Corporation consists of 60 wards categorized under 4 Zonal Offices, namely Suramangalam Zonal, Hasthampatty Zonal, Ammapet Zonal, 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.
According to an Indian legend, Sukavana Isvarar Puranam, the city, Cheralam, was founded by Cherarnan Peruman, a leader of the Chera Dynasty, because he wanted to bathe in the river Thirumanimuthu Aru and worship the god Isvarar there. Cheralam translates to "mountain range".
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. Inscriptions from the Ganga dynasty have been recovered from parts of the district.
Salem later became part of the Western Ganga Dynasty . With the Southern invasion of Tamil Nadu by the Vijayanagar empire, it came under the Madurai Nayaks. 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detachment of the regiment stationed at Sankagiri Durg and remained a military station until 1861 when the troops were withdrawn.
One can find places like Mac Donald's Choultry renamed now as Magudanchavadi. 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 Theeran Chinnamalai was hanged infamously in the Sankagiri fort on Aadi Padhinettu day which later became the army headquarters of the British.
Modern Theatres Ltd., a motion picture movie studio was started by Thiruchengodu Ramalingam Sundaram (aka TRS) in 1935. The studio produced over more than 150 movies until 1982 in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Sinhalese and even English of which Tamil movies were the majority.
Salem, known for its best produced fruit: The mangoes. Malgova from salem are very sweet. Also, Salem Steel Plant exports stainless steel to other countries.