Located two hundred kilometers southeast of Bangalore, Salem is home to a very enthusiastic group of ISKCON devotees, mostly young brahmacharis, who have recently relocated to a new property, a three-acre plot of land, just a half kilometer from Periyaar University and the Government Engineering college (which is part of the reason they purchased land in this area). These devotees have been inspired by H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami Maharaj and are working under his guidance and with his blessings.
The anglicized word "Salem" comes from the Samskrita word "Shailam", or "hill."
There is a well-known "hill station" that was popularized during the days of British rule, Yercaud, located twenty-five kilometers from Salem at a height of just under four thousand feet. It remains a popular place for summer visitors.
First ISKCON center was open in 1999 when few enthusiastic brahmacaries came to this South Indian city from Andra Pradesh, rented house in New Fairlands and started book distribution and Sunday feast programs.
Deities of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai arrived in 2002 to temporary place in Gandhi Road which was kindly given to us by kind life-memeber free of cost to use it for two years. In 2003 small plot of land was acquired in Rajaram Nagara and center was shifted there for time being. Later that plot was sold and three-acres of beautiful land was purchased.
The new land is located just three kilometers outside Salem, off the main highway to Bangalore, well known as the Bangalore-Madurai highway, which is in the process of being upgraded to a four-lane highway. There's tremendous economic development going on along both sides of the highway and land prices are "shooting through the ceiling". It's a great boon to ISKCON to have been able to acquire this large piece of private land "timely".
Every year big public festival is organized in Devigam Kalyana Mandapam with international speakers, bhajans and prasadam distribution. ISKCON Salem is organizing seminars and classes and in the year 2004 first Bhakti-sastri course was held.