Salem, originally spelled Selam, is a major city in Salem district, located on the banks of the Thirumanimutharu River in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, surrounded by mountains. Salem is the fifth largest urban agglomeration in the state, surpassed by Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli, and the third largest urban region in the state, after the metropolitan regions of Chennai and Coimbatore. The city has a size of 124 km2 (48 sq mi). Salem's main products include silver anklets, sago, mangoes, steel and textiles.
During the 3rd century BC. there was the period of Bogar, a notable Tamil siddhar, and it was in this era that Jainism and Buddhism emerged. Around the beginning of the Common Era, the existence of a culturally and economically advanced society in Salem two thousand years ago is evidenced by the discovery of silver coins of the Roman emperor Tiberices Claudices Nero (37-68 AD) at Salem's Koneripatti in 1987. Later, the Pandya dynasty ruled the region around Salem. Thereafter, the Pallava dynasty emerged in Salem, followed by the arrival of Mahendra Varma Pallava in Salem and the rise of Saivite principles. Mahendra Varma Pallava was succeeded by Narasimha Varma Pallava. Soon the Pandya dynasty ruled Salem. The Hoysala government established in Salem and parts around Salem continued under the Pandya dynasty.

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