A Travel Guide to Salem

Salem Airport Directory (SXV)
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A place that often goes under the radar when it comes to visiting Tamil Nadu, Salem (say-lum) is a city with more to experience than you can imagine. This tiny city attracts tourists who visit for religious reasons but end up extending their stay for the gorgeous scenery and waterfalls. Salem is around 150 km from Coimbatore and is surrounded by hills. Hence the name Salem is derived from ‘sailam’. Pack your bags and explore the various rivers, temples, and forts here. You can either drive here on a road trip with your friends and family or travel through other modes of transport.

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The people here add personality to Salem. The beautifully carved and well-maintained temples warrant a visit to this versatile and fast-growing city. You can introduce yourself to local flavours that would not be accessible elsewhere. Enjoy some traditional music, sit with the locals, hear their stories while narrating yours, and see how you breathe life into each other's memories. Salem is many things, but most of all, it is a lush landscape with a beautiful culture. Book your flights to Salem and participate in this celebration of life and gods. 

Best time to visit: The best time to book a flight to Salem is from October to February when the weather is pleasant.

How to reach? 

By air: Once your flight to Salem lands at Salem Airport (SXV) from any major city in India, you can head to the city centre through public transport or taxis. 

By train: You can either get off at Salem Junction, which connects the city to Bengaluru, Chennai, and other cities or deboard at Salem Town Railway Station, connecting you to Chennai.

By bus: If you are travelling from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, or Kerala, you can book a ticket on SETC, KSRTC, TNSTC, or private buses. 

Getting around/Transport in Salem: Booking your Salem flight ticket is one thing, but figuring out how to travel around Salem conveniently is another. Choose public buses, auto rickshaws, or even taxis. Be sure to have a good rapport with the auto-rickshaw driver, and you can ask them to show you around while also paying a fair price.

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Places to visit

  • Kiliyur Falls: In the Shevaroy Hills, Kiliyur Falls is a breathtaking waterfall near Salem. The waters overflow from the Yercaud Lake and fall 300 ft into the Kiliyur Valley. This waterfall is an oasis surrounded by forests. Travellers can take a short trek to reach the falls, where they can enjoy the refreshing atmosphere and unwind in the natural pool below.
  • 1008 Lingam Temple: The 1008 Lingam Temple, located in Salem, Tamil Nadu, is a sacred destination for devotees of Lord Shiva. As the name suggests, it houses 1008 intricately carved lingams, each representing the divine presence of Lord Shiva. Pilgrims come far and wide to offer prayers and seek blessings at this religious site.
  • Attur Fort: Attur Fort, a historical gem in Salem, has a rich past dating back to the 17th century. This impressive fort was constructed during the rule of the Mysore kings and later served as a stronghold for the British. Visitors can explore its massive stone walls, watchtowers, and cannons, which stand as a testament to its military significance. 
  • Oothumalai Hill: Oothumalai Hill, situated near Salem, is a picture-perfect hill station known for its natural beauty and green surroundings. The hill offers a complete view of lush greenery, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers and trekkers. You can go on trekking adventures and explore the rich flora and fauna.
  • Belur Shiva Temple: The Belur Shiva Temple, an architectural masterpiece, is a revered religious site in Salem. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is renowned for its intricate sculptures and good craftsmanship. The temple's architecture and aura make it a must-visit destination for both devotees and admirers of art and culture. 
  • Jama Masjid: Jama Masjid in Salem reflects the city's rich and diverse cultural legacy. This majestic mosque showcases the splendid architectural style of the Mughal era, characterised by its magnificent domes, graceful arches, and intricate detailing. Its construction dates back approximately three centuries, with the illustrious ruler Tipu Sultan laying the inaugural brick. Jama Masjid warmly welcomes people of all religions to explore its historical and cultural significance.
  • Kolli Hills: Kolli Hills, a breathtaking hill station near Salem, is also called the ‘Mountains of Death. Known for its lush green valleys, dense forests, and winding roads, Kolli Hills is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers. Trekking, bird watching, and exploring the Agaya Gangai Waterfalls are some of the activities that you can enjoy here.
  • Dreamland Theme Park: Salem's Dreamland Theme Park is a popular choice for family fun and entertainment. This amusement park offers a wide range of rides, attractions, and activities for visitors of all ages. From thrilling roller coasters to gentle rides for kids, it promises a day of excitement and laughter.
  • Skandasramam: Skandasramam is a spiritual retreat situated in the surroundings of Salem. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan (Skanda) and serves as a place of meditation and self-discovery. The ashram offers a quiet environment to let you seek inner peace and introspect.
  • Paravasa Ulagam: Paravasa Ulagam is a theme park in Salem that provides a mix of recreational activities for families. It includes an amusement park, a water park, and various other entertainment options, making it a perfect place for a day of enjoyment and relaxation.
  • Mookaneri Lake: Mookaneri Lake offers an idyllic setting for long walks, boating, and birdwatching. The lake boasts additional amenities, including a park for recreation, comfortable seating arrangements for visitors, and a dedicated parking area for vehicles. Families flock to the lake during both morning and evening hours. 
  • Kariyakoil Dam: The Kariyakoil Dam is a significant water reservoir near Salem, providing irrigation and drinking water to the region. The dam's serene surroundings make it a popular picnic spot, offering a peaceful atmosphere and opportunities for boating and relaxation.
  • Appa Paithiyam Swamy Samadhi Temple: This temple in Salem is dedicated to Appa Paithiyam Swamy and is a place of spiritual significance. Devotees visit to seek blessings and offer prayers. The temple's peaceful ambience and its spiritual experience make it a notable place to visit for those on a spiritual journey.


Places to eat

  • Selvi Mess: Selvi Mess is a hidden gem that offers authentic Chettinad cuisine. Their spicy curries, biryanis, and seafood dishes are a must-try for those seeking a flavour-packed experience.
  • Salem RR Biriyani: If you're a biryani lover, Salem RR Biriyani is a go-to spot. They are known for their aromatic and flavourful biryanis, prepared with the finest ingredients and spices.
  • Hotel Saravana Bhavan: A well-known chain, Hotel Saravana Bhavan, offers various vegetarian South Indian dishes. From crispy dosas to rich filter coffee, it's a haven for traditional flavours.
  • Zaitoon Restaurant: For those craving North Indian and Mughlai cuisine, Zaitoon Restaurant is an excellent choice. Their kebabs, biryanis, and butter chicken are highly recommended.
  • Amma's Kitchen: Amma's Kitchen is renowned for its homely, hygienic, and mouth-watering vegetarian dishes. Their thalis and special meals provide a delightful dining experience
  • Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant: A celebrated biryani chain, Dindigul Thalappakatti is a must-visit for biryani lovers. Their Dum Biryani is famous for its fragrant rice and tender meat.
  • Madras Ananda Bhavan: Madras Ananda Bhavan specialises in sweets, snacks, and North Indian dishes. It's a go-to spot for chaats, samosas, and delightful desserts.

Shopping places

  • Reliance Mall: Reliance Mall in Salem is a shopping complex that has become a hub for retail therapy and entertainment in the city. Managed by the Reliance Retail group, it offers a diverse shopping experience for locals and visitors alike. The mall houses a wide array of stores, including popular fashion brands, electronics outlets, and lifestyle boutiques. The multiplex cinema here makes it a popular destination for anyone who wants to watch the latest film. 
  • Kandaswarna Mega Mall: This mega mall has various collections of stores spanning fashion, electronics, cosmetics, and more. It allows shoppers to explore local and international brands, making it a one-stop destination for all their shopping needs. Kandaswarna Mega Mall is also a place for fun and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy their time at the mall's gaming zones, dine at the food courts, or catch the latest blockbuster at the multiplex cinema.
  • Gandhi Road: Gandhi Road in Salem is a market that offers a wide variety of goods. It's particularly famous for its textile shops, where you can find everything from vibrant sarees to exquisite fabrics. The road also has shops selling jewellery, footwear, and everyday essentials. Remember to haggle a bit to get the best deals.
  • Kandaswarna Shopping Mall Road: While the Kandaswarna Mega Mall is a shopping destination in itself, the road leading up to it has several local shops and vendors, too. You can find traditional clothing, jewellery, and handicrafts here. It's a great place to immerse yourself in the local shopping culture and discover unique items.
  • Cherry Road: Cherry Road is a well-known spot for those seeking electronic gadgets and accessories. It's a haven for tech nerds, with shops selling everything from smartphones and laptops to headphones and phone cases. The competitive pricing and variety of options make it popular for gadget shopping.
  • Town Hall Road: Town Hall Road is perfect for bookworms and stationery lovers. You'll find quaint bookstores offering a wide range of reading materials, including Tamil literature. Additionally, there are shops specialising in stationery, art supplies, and educational materials.
  • Old Bus Stand Market: The Old Bus Stand Market is a local market where you can discover a bit of everything. From fresh produce and street food to clothing, accessories, and household items, it has it all. The market's energy and diverse offerings make it an exciting stop for visitors.


  • Hotel CJ Palazzo: Hotel CJ Palazzo boasts one of Salem's liveliest nightlife scenes. The hotel houses a lounge where you can unwind with friends or fellow travellers. Enjoy a wide selection of beverages while soaking in the relaxing energy. The occasional live music performances add to the entertainment.
  • Grand Estancia: The Grand Estancia is a luxury hotel in Salem with a beautiful lounge. It's an excellent choice for those seeking a more upscale nightlife experience. You can also enjoy a selection of fine beverages.
  • Night Markets: Night markets offer an aroma filled atmosphere with diverse street food, artisanal crafts, and entertainment. They light up the streets after dark, creating lively, multicultural hubs for everyone to enjoy.

Where to stay

  • Radisson Salem: A luxury option in Salem, Radisson offers elegant rooms and top-notch amenities. The hotel features comfortable accommodations, an outdoor pool, a fitness centre, and multiple dining options. It is a great spot for evening relaxation, while the Azure restaurant serves delicious international and Indian cuisine.
  • Hotel Ashwa Park: Affordable and comfortable with modern amenities, an in-house restaurant, and a central location for convenient access to Salem's attractions. Perfect for budget-conscious travellers.
  • Hotel Cenneys Gateway: Hotel Cenneys Gateway is a mid-range option offering comfortable rooms and a decent location. It's known for its excellent vegetarian dining options, including the popular Aahaaram restaurant. 
  • GRT Regency: GRT Regency is a business-class hotel with modern amenities. It boasts well-appointed rooms, a gym, and a rooftop restaurant with gorgeous views. The hotel's location in the city's heart is ideal for business and backpacking travellers.

More reasons to visit

  • Visit Arulmigu Maragathambigai Chandra Choodeswarar Temple: Explore the magnificent Chandra Choodeswarar Temple, an ancient Hindu shrine known for its intricate Dravidian architecture. Pay your respects to the deity, and don't miss the temple's vibrant festivals, which offer a glimpse into Tamil Nadu's rich cultural heritage.
  • Explore Salem Steel Plant: Discover the industrial side of Salem by visiting the Salem Steel Plant. Take a guided tour to learn about the steel-making process, see massive blast furnaces in action, and gain insight into the city's role in India's steel production. It provides a unique perspective on Salem's economic significance and technological advancements.
  • Historical Significance: Salem boasts a storied history, with ancient temples like the Kottai Mariamman Temple that showcase intricate Dravidian architecture. Book a Salem flight ticket and learn about its historical roots.
  • Natural Beauty: Salem is surrounded by green landscapes. Yercaud, known as the "Jewel of the South," is a hill station near Salem that offers trekking, boating in the Yercaud Lake, and breathtaking viewpoints like Pagoda Point and Lady's Seat.


  • Pongal: The harvest festival of Pongal, celebrated in January, marks the gratitude of the farming community for a bountiful harvest. It involves cooking a special dish called "Pongal" made from newly harvested rice, and offering it to the sun god.
  • Mariamman Festival: Dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, it is celebrated in April and May. Devotees seek her blessings for good health and protection from diseases.
  • Karthigai Deepam: This festival, celebrated in November or December, involves lighting lamps and candles to commemorate the victory of Lord Muruga over the demon Surapadma. It is visually beautiful.
  • Vinayaka Chaturthi: The birthday of Lord Ganesha, usually in August or September, is celebrated with enthusiasm. Devotees create clay idols of Ganesha and immerse them in water bodies at the end of the festival.

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