Salem At a Glance
SALEM DISTRICT AT A GLANCE:
Salem District was formed on 1772. Salem District is situated between 11 14’ and 12 53’ in North Latitude between 77 44’ and 78 50’ in East longitude and bounded on North by Dharmapuri District, South by Trichy and Namakkal District, East by Villupuram and Perambalur Districts and West by Erode District and Karnataka State.
Salem is Geologist’s paradise, surrounded by hills and the landscape dotted with hillocks. Salem has a vibrant culture dating back to the ancient Kongu Nadu. As a district, Salem has its significance in various aspects.
There are many things in Salem that are noteworthy by virtue of its location and social set-up.
i).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.
ii).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 block into sheets of required dimensions by cold and hot extrusion methods.
iii).Mineral Deposits: 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.
iv).Agriculture produces: Many agricultural products from Salem have 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 is 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 the 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.
v).Sandal wood: Santalum album species of Sandal wood grows in the forests of Salem. They fetch high price 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.
vi).Animal Husbandry: 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.
vii).Dairy: Salem Dairy has impressive milk products, which were introduced by the Dairy recently and are effectively marketed.
viii).Cottage Industries: The Salem handloom insustry is one of the ancient cottage industries and producing quality sarees and dhoties out of silk yarn and cotton yarn.
- Production of Sun-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 poplular 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 dhoties.
- 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.
ix) Cinema Theatres: 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.
x) Temples: Many temples with intricate sculptures and imposing towers are found in the district of Salem, built by indigenous rulers centuries before the British era. Some of the popular templates are the Taramangalam Shivan Temple is Omalur and the Sukavaneswarar temple, Kottai Mariamman temple, Prasanna Venkatesha Perumal temple in Salem.
xi) Forts: Forts had existed in Salem town and Omalur said to have been visited by Tipu Sultan. Uncared for, not even the ruins of these monuments remain to be seen today. However at Sankagiri an impressive fort is seen on a hillock, with its elaborate, massive ramparts running all the way the hill. This fort is said to have been the holding of “Theeran Chinnamalai” an indigenous warrior who fought against British oppression.
xii) Tourism: Yercaud is a popular summer resort in Salem, quite inexpensive yet exquisitely picturesque. The cool and mild climate prevailing here makes it an ideal summer retreat.
The Shervarayan temple deep inside a narrow cavern with a rivulet rippling behind the idols is one of the main spots of tourist attraction. The flowering of ‘Kurunji’ once in twelve years also attracts tourists. Coffee, spices like cardamom, pepper, fruits like “Kamala” Orange, butter fruit, Jack fruit are grown in Yercaud and find good market.
Yercaud houses many colonial buildings and churches. The prestigious residential school “The Mont fort School” is at Yercaud.
There are six railway stations in Salem District.
Climate and Rain Fall:
The climate of the Salem District is generally warm. The hottest period of the year is generally from the months of March to May. The highest temperature goes upto 39.8 C in the month of May. The climate becomes cool in December to February, when it touches a minimum of 16.7 C in the month of December. On an average the District receives an annual rainfall of 979.9 mm.
Land Use Pattern (In Hectare)
Total Area of District: 5245 Sq. Km