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10 Religious Sites to Visit in Salem, Tamil Nadu

If you’re planning a trip to Salem, located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, you need to visit these top religious sites in the area. Hindus can explore the large number of temples dedicated to various Hindu gods in the town. Christians can appreciate charming chapels for a moment of peace after enjoying the amazing scenery, history, food, and vibrant South Indian culture that Tamil Nadu has to offer. 


Sugavaneshwarar temple

Right in the heart of Salem is another temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple is believed to date back to the Sangam period of Tamil Nadu, making the temple at least 1,000 years old. Traces of the Chera, Chola, and Pandya dynasties can also be seen. The temple gets its name from Sage Sukka, a devoted follower of Shiva whose shrine can also be found here. There are also many other shrines, statues, monuments, and paintings to enjoy. 


Infant Jesus Cathedral

Infant Jesus Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in the heart of Salem. Through the efforts of Bishop Michael Bosco Duraisamy, Infant Jesus Cathedral was consecrated on November 27, 1991. With over 11,000 parishioners, the church has grown to be the largest church congregation in the Roman Catholic diocese of Salem. The church’s beautiful grounds and stained-glass windows that cover every inch of the Cathedral’s walls are a marvel in themselves and make Infant Jesus Cathedral a must-see religious site in Salem.


Sri Ramanujar Manimandapam Temple

While it is the newest temple on this list, Sri Ramanujar Manimandapam is well worth a visit. This temple was built in 2017 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the saint Ramanujar’s birth in 1017 AD. Ramanujar was a Hindu philosopher, guru, and reformer. One of three Ramanuja idols can be found in this temple. The temple often holds festivals and regularly has processions, so there is never a bad time to stop by this site.


St Mary’s Church, Salem

This beautiful church is a Syro Malabar Catholic church. The foundation for the church was first laid on October 29, 2006. It was consecrated on December 12, 2012. It is still a young church compared to other churches in Tamil Nadu, but it is still worth looking inside to see ornate stained-glass windows and paintings of Mary.


Oothumalai Hill

About 6 km from Salem, this site is very unique on this list. It is not as old as the other temples and it encompasses many small temples.  The Sri Balasubramaniar Temple is dedicated to the Hindu God, Muruga. The second temple is a Shiva Temple. A third temple, the Sathyanarayana Temple is a temple dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. If you’re not interested in looking at the temples, there are many springs and caves to see–or simply visit to capture the breathtaking view of the city below.


Kottai Mariamman Temple

This temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Mariammam, as the name also suggests.According to holidify, the temple “was considered the watchman god of Salem fort during the pre-British period.” It is believed to be one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in Salem. The best time to visit is in July and August when the temple celebrates a 15-day festival called Aadi Perukku. 


CSI Christ Church

Christ Church was built by the British and consecrated in 1875. According to Indian Christians United, The church was originally being used to hold services for the Church of England for the London Missionary Society and the East India Company. Eventually Christ Church became a church under the Church of South India (CSI) denomination. The Church of South India is a united Protestant Church created to unite the various Protestant denominations in South India after independence. The church has now been serving the community in Salem for almost 150 years. Services are offered in both Tamil and English.


Then Thiruvannamalai Temple

About a half hour from Salem, in the village of Ponparappipatti, stands Then Thiruvannamalai Temple–more commonly known as the Annamalaiyar or Arunachaleswara Temple. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva. It is one of India’s largest temples and covers almost 25 acres. The temple was built in the 9th century under the orders of kings during the Chola empire. The grounds also boast five other temples that represent the five elements of nature.


Skandasramam Murugan Temple

This temple is located on a hill in Udayapatti, which is a part of the Salem District of Tamil Nadu, India. The main deity in the temple is the Hindu god Muruga, though many other statues of other Hindu gods can also be found there. It was built in 1971 by Shantananda Swami. It is famous for its 16-foot statues of Sri Panchamuga Anjaneyar and Sri Panchamuga Vinayagar. Another unique feature is the depiction of Muruga and his mother, Parasakthi facing each other.


Kalangi Siddhar temple 

This temple was built in honor of the Siddhar saint, Kalangi Nathar. Situated on the hills of Kanja Malai, a beautiful view of Salem can be seen from the temple. There are also waterfalls, springs wells, and small reservoirs to see. Visitors are also allowed to take a dip in the water, which, as per legends, is believed to have healing powers. The area around the temple is also believed to have medicinal herbs. 


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Tags: India religion culture History Hinduism Tamil Nadu Christianity


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