Salem is a city and a corporation in Salem district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located in the north central part of the southernmost state of India, about 340 kilometres (211 mi) southwest of state capital, Chennai. It is the fifth Municipal Corporation and Urban agglomeration in Tamil Nadu next to Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirappalli. It is also claimed as the birthplace of the Tamil Avvaiyar poets. It and the surrounding hilly regions were part of the Chera dynasty, and the city was ruled by kings known as the Kurunila Mannargal. Salem was later ruled by Gatti Mudalis, Poligars who built temples and forts in and around the city.