Salem of the US is famous for witches. But Salem City in Tamil Nadu, India is famous for mangoes, Salem Steel, temples and the beautiful hills surrounding it. It is also a centre point from where you can go to amazing destinations like Kolli Hills, Namakkal, Yercaud, and the Mettur Dam.
Tourist spots in and around Salem
With so many nearby destinations, it is better to chart out at 3 or 4 minimum days trip. Salem is hot and dry during the summer season. So plan your trip accordingly. You can also try the South Indian special dishes in Salem. Check these out
- Sugavaneshwarar Temple
This temple is near the old bus stand and was built in the 13 Century. The main deities are Lord Sughaveshwarar (Shiva) and Goddess Swarnambal(Parvathi) respectively. Get the blessing of the lord and Goddess at this important pilgrimage site of Shaivism. You can also visit another famous temple called Raja Ganapathi very near this temple.
- Kottai Mariamman
This is the temple Benevolent Mother Goddess Mariamman. The local businessmen consider this temple as the reason for the city’s prosperity. The temple is right in the middle of the city. The temple is a very old one and the car festival that takes place during July-August is attended by all in Salem.
- 1008 lingam temple
This temple is managed by a private trust. Yes, this temple has 1008 Lingas placed like tiers around the hill and you can take a vehicle to the top to reach the final lingams there. A fairly new temple, it is located at Aiyanoor on the Salem National Highway.
- Namakkal Hanuman and Namagiri Sri Narasimha swamy.
Namakkal is 42 kms away by train and 45 kms away on Road from Salem. It is the seat of the famous Namakkal Hanuman and Sri. Namagiri Narasimha swamy. The Hanuman idol in the sanctum is 18.5 ft in height. The Poojas and abhisekams(bathing of the idol in milk and Rosewater) are done by the Purohits from a small stage near the face of the idol. The beauty of this temple is that this temple is at the feet of the Namagiri Narasimhar temple at the top of the hill. The line of vision of the faithful Hanuman is exactly at the feet of the Lord Narasimhar above! Amazing are the visions and ways of temple planners of old times.
The temple on the Namagiri hill has idols of Lord Narasimhar and Goddess Namagiri Amman. This Narasimhar is a swaymbhu meaning self-formed and not sculpted. The car festival(Rath yatra) is famous here.
- Mettur Dam
Take the 41km road trip or bus trip to reach the famous Mettur dam on the Kaveri river. This dam provides water and electricity to all the nearby towns and cities like Erode, Namakkal, Tirchi, Tanjavur and Karur.
You need to pay a nominal amount for sightseeing on this Dam. You get to view the massive dam and its 16+Sluice gates from the top. Children can have fun at the Snake and Deer park beneath the Mettur dam.
You can also see some temples, a church and the palace of Tipu Sultan if the dam water is at a low level. This is because the dam was built on an evacuated village.
- Hokennakal Falls
Hogennakal Falls is upstream of Mettur Dam, about 90 kms away from Salem. At a point on the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka border, the river Kaveri cascades down like a fork in form of various streams. Stunning, amazing, scintillating….. words are not enough to describe this Natures’ mesmerizing waterfall. Water is crystal clear and is known to have medicinal value. You can indulge in boating on coracles and trekking to enjoy the virgin natural sceneries here.
- Kolli Hills
If you are a roadie, drive through 72 hairpin bends to reach the Kolli Hills. Kolli hills is famous for medicinal herbs and the delicious Jackfruit. Pilgrims can visit the Aarpaleeswarar temple (Lord Shiva temple) and Kolli Amman temple. There are also facilities for trekking here.
The hill station of Yercaud by travelling 30kms on Road from Salem. You won’t find a quainter ideal place for your honeymoon or family tours than this. Attractions at Yercaud are the Shervorayan temple, Botanical garden, Boating on the Emerald lake Yercaud, Pagoda point and Kiliyur falls. There are many fairs and festivals conducted in month of May.
- Sankakiri Durg
You can reach this Fort of historical importance travelling 38 kms on road from Salem. This fort has 14 fortified walls built around a hill by the Vijaynagaram empire. This fort even served the British.
This temple is very popular. The idols here are big in size and include images of Dattatreya, Panchamukha Hanuman and Dhanavantri. The beautiful surroundings and foliage put to rest every tired soul that visits here.
Featured Photo by Sreejith K