thirumalai-nayak-mahal

Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai’s Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59, in the city of Madurai, India. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Rajput styles. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace, in which the king lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. In its heyday, Tirumalai Nayak Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South. This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple.

The Nayaks of Madurai ruled this former Kingdom from 1545 till 1740’s and Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659) was one of their greatest kings that line notable for various buildings in and around Madurai. During the 17th centuries the Madurai Kingdom had Portuguese, Dutch and other Europeans as traders, missionaries and visiting travellers. Tirumala Nayak is believed to have recruited the services of an Italian architect,for the construction of his Palace. Over a span of 400 years many parts of the buildings were suffered much by time, and not inconsiderably… by the destructive effects of war; a few, however, are sufficiently in repair to be converted into use by the garrison, as granaries, store-houses, powder magazines during time of East India Company. King Thirumalai Nayak’s grandson had demolished much of the fine structure and removed most of the jewels and woodcarvings in order to build his own palace in Tiruchirapalli. However Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras, had partially restored the palace in 1866-72, and the subsequent restoration works carried out several years ago, today, we get to see the Entrance Gate, The Main Hall and the Dance Hall.

Built in 1636, as a focal point of his capital at Madurai, Thirumalai Nayak intended the palace to be one of the grandest in South India. The design and architecture is a blend of Dravidian and Islamic styles. The Interior of the palace surpasses many of its Indian contemporaries in scale. The interior is richly decorated whilst the exterior is treated in a more austere style.The courtyard is surrounded by massive circular pillars. Now it has a circular garden.The palace was divided into two major parts, namely Swarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) and Ranga Vilasam. The royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden were situated in these two portions. The courtyard and the dancing hall are the major center of attractions of the palace. The Celestial Pavilion (Swarga Vilasam) was used as the throne-room and has an arcaded octagon covered by a dome 60–70 feet high. The structure was constructed using foliated brickwork and the surface details and finish in exquisite stucco called chunnam using chunnam and (Mixed with egg white) to obtain a smooth and glossy texture.

The palace is well equipped to perform Light & Sound shows depicting the story of Silappathikaram both in Tamil and English languages.it is held at evenings·