The third century BC marks the arrival of Jainism and Buddhism in the district of Salem. Around the beginning of the Christian era, the existence of an economically and culturally advanced society in the Salem district two thousand years ago is evident from the discovery of silver coins of the Roman Emperor Tiberices Claudices Nero in Koneripatti of Salem in the year 1987. The rule of the Pandiyan dynasty over Salem district starts in the second century A.D. The fourth century A.D. witnessed the rise of the Pallava dynasty in the district of Salem and in the sixth century the rise of the Saivite principle was witnessed. The tenth century marks the rise of the Chola dynasty in this district and in the twelfth century the Hoysala Empire ruled over Salem. In the fourteenth century the district of Salem went under the rule of the Vijayanagar Empire. The fifteenth and the sixteenth century saw the rule of the Chalukyas and the Madurai Nayaks over the district of Salem respectively. The eighteenth century saw the rue of Hyder Ali and then his son Tipu Sultan over Salem and in this century Salem slipped into the hands of the British East India Company until India became independent in the year 1947.
Yercaud is a well-known summer resort in the Salem district. There are several places to see in Yercaud. The mild and cool climate prevailing at this place makes it an ideal summer retreat. Another tourist attraction is the Shervarayan temple. It is deep inside a narrow cavern with a rivulet rippling behind the idols. The `Kurunji` flowers which blossom once in twelve years also attract tourists. Coffee, spices like pepper, cardomom, fruits like orange, butter fruit, jack fruit are grown in Yercaud. There are several colonial buildings and churches in Yercaud. There is a fort at Sankagiri on a hillock which is said to have been the holding of `Theeran Chinnamalai`; an indigenous warrior who fought against the oppression of the British.