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Salem is a city and a municipal corporation in Salem district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Salem is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) northeast of Coimbatore, 186 kilometres (116 mi) southeast of Bangalore and about 340 kilometres (211 mi) southwest of the state capital, Chennai. 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 (39 sq mi). It is the fifth municipal corporation and urban agglomeration commissioned in Tamil Nadu after Madras (1919), Coimbatore (1981), Madurai (1971) and Tiruchirappalli (1994). As of 2011, the city had a population of 1,272,743.
Cheralam, Shalya, Sayilam and Sailam are found in inscriptions referring to the country around the hills Nagarmalai in the north, Jeragamalai in the south, Kanjanamalai on the west and Godumalai on the east. Locals claim Salem to be the birthplace of Tamil poetess Avvaiyar. Salem and the hilly regions around it were part of the Chera Dynasty and the city was ruled by kings known as the Kurunila Mannargal of ancient Tamil Nadu. It was later ruled by Gatti Mudalis Poligars who built a few temples and forts in and around the city.
In the early 18th century, after the Mysore-Madurai war, the region came under the rule of Hyder Ali. Subsequently, Salem was taken from Hyder Ali by Colonel Wood[who?] 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detachment of the regiment stationed at Sankagiri Durg and remained a military station until 1861 when the troops were withdrawn.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 Kongu Chieftain Dheeran Chinnamalai, places like Salem and Sankagiri were the scenes of battle between Kongu forces and British allied forces. Dheeran Chinnamalai was hanged infamously in the Sankagiri fort, which later became the army headquarters of the British.
According to Edgar Thurston (Castes and Tribes of India Volume 5) the Kongu region was ruled by a series of twenty eight kings before being conquered by the Cholas of Tanjore, citing the earliest portion of the Kongu Chronicle – Kongu Desa Rajakkal (a manuscript in The Mackenzie Collection) which contains a series of short notes of the reigns of all the kings who ruled the country from the start of the Christian era till its conquest by the Cholas. These kings belonged to two distinct dynasties: the earlier line of the Solar race which had a succession of seven kings of the Ratti or Reddi tribe, and the later line of the Ganga race.
Salem had a population of 826,267 as of the 2011 census (05740). There were 987 females for every 1,000 males, significantly above the national average of 929. A total of 79,067 were under the age of six, constituting 40,570 males and 38,497 females. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for 12.82% and 0.15% of the population, respectively. The average literacy of the city was 76.37%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The city had a total of 215,747 households. There were a total of 332,147 workers: 1599 cultivators, 3040 main agricultural labourers, 32,597 in house hold industries, 278,892 other workers, 16,019 marginal workers, 165 marginal cultivators, 544 marginal agricultural labourers, 1937 marginal workers in household industries and 13,373 other marginal workers.
Geography and Climate
Salem is located at 11°40â€²10â€³N 78°08â€²27â€³Eï»¿ / ï»¿11.669437°N 78.140865°Eï»¿ / 11.669437; 78.140865. The average elevation is 278 m (912 ft). The city is surrounded by hills on all sides, namely, Nagaramalai in the north, Jarugumalai in the south, Kanjamalai in 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. Thirumanimuthar river flows through the city, dividing it into two parts. The fort area is the oldest part of the town. Salem local planning area extends up to 100 km2 (39 sq mi) within the city .
Salem receives scanty rainfall and a dry climate. Salem has moderate-dry weather throughout except during the monsoon season. Generally the first two months of the year are pleasant, but summer onset begins in March. The highest temperature is normally recorded during May. The scanty showers during this period do not provide any relief from the oppressive heat. There is a light improvement in the climate during June–July period. During this pre-monsoon period, the mercury reverses its trend and by August, the sky gets overcast heavily but the rains are meagre. The north-east monsoon sets in vigorously only during September–November and by December, the rains disappear rendering the climate clear but pleasant.
Salem is the headquarters of the Salem District. The town was constituted as a municipality 1867, promoted to special-grade during 1966 and as a municipal corporation from 1 April 1994. The Salem municipal corporation has 60 wards and there is an elected councillor for each of those wards.  The functions of the municipal corporation are devolved into six departments: general administration/personnel, Engineering, Revenue, Public Health, city planning and Information Technology (IT). All these departments are under the control of a Municipal Commissioner who is the executive head. The legislative powers are vested in a body of 60 members, one each from the 60 wards. The legislative body is headed by an elected Chairperson assisted by a Deputy Chairperson.
Salem is a part of Salem North, Salem West and Salem South assembly constituencies that were newly after the constituency delimitations 2008. The city elects the three members to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly once every five years. The current MLAs are R. Mohan Raj (Salem North) from Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam party, M.K.Selavaraju (Salem West) from All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam party (ADMK) and G.Venkatachalam (Salem South) from the ADMK party
Till 2008, the city was part of Salem I and Salem II assembly constituencies. From the 1977 elections, All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won the Salem I assembly seat five times (in 1977, 1980, 1984, 2001 and 2006 elections), two times by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (in 1989 and 1996 elections) and once by Indian National Congress (INC) (in 1991 elections). From the 1977 elections, All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) won the Salem II assembly seat three times (in 1980, 1984 and 1991 elections), three times by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (in 1989, 1996 and 2006 elections) and once each by Janata Party (JP) (in 1977 elections) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) (in 2001 elections).
Salem is a part of the Salem (Lok Sabha constituency) – it has the following six assembly constituencies – Omalur, Salem North, Salem South, Salem West, Veerapandi and Edappadi. The current Member of Parliament from the constituency is PANNERSELVAM.V from the ADMK party. From the 1952 elections, the Salem parliament seat was held by the Indian National Congress for eight times (during 1952, 1957, 1962, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 2004 elections), ADMK four times (during 1977, 1991, 2009 and 2014 elections), DMK three times (during 1967, 1971 and 1980 elections), and an once each by an independent (during 1998 elections) and Tamil Maanila Congress (during 1996 elections)..
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.