Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Madurai

Posted Date: 29 Jul 2010      Author: Kumaraditya Sarkar Profile photo   Member Level: Gold (Rs 30)

Thirumalai Nayak Palace; Thiruamalai Nayakkar Mahal; Nayak Kings of Tamilnadu; Tourist attractions of Tamilnadu and many more information

Thirumalai Nayak Palace

The Thirumalai Nayak Palace, or the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, is one of the major tourist attractions of Tamilnadu. This palace was built by the 17th century ruler of Maduri, Thirumalai Nayak. In fact the Thirumalai Nayak Palace was the living place of the Nayak Kings of Tamilnadu. The construction of the Thirumalai Nayak Palace was supervised by an Italian architect; and as a result the Thirumalai Nayak Palace exhibits an excellent combination of the Dravidian, the European as well as the Islamic schools of architecture.

Statue of Thirumalai Nayak

Unfortunately, most of the original Thirumalai Nayak Palace has been ruined or destroyed by now. What is there today as the Thirumalai Nayak Palace is only a mere quarter of the original Thirumalai Nayak Palace. Today’s Thirumalai Nayak Palace is that part of the original Thirumalai Nayak Palace where the Nayak Kings of Tamilnadu used to live. The original Thirumalai Nayak Palace was actually one of the wonders of South India in its time. In the independent India, the Thiruamalai Nayakkar Mahal

Location of Thirumalai Nayak Palace

The Thirumalai Nayak Palace is located more or less 2 kilometres south east of the world famous Meenakshi Amman Temple of Madurai. The Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a major landmark of the city and the tourists will have no inconvenience in reaching the Thirumalai Nayak Palace.

Auditorium, Thirumalai Nayak Palace

History of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal

The Nayak Kings of Tamilnadu ruler over Madurai from 1545 to 1740. Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659) was undoubtedly one of the greatest Nayak Kings of Tamilnadu. Thiruamalai Nayak constructed not only the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal or the Thrirumalai Nayak Palace but also many more buildings around the city of Madurai. Thirumalai Nayak was a Hindu ruler but in those days the masons were mostly Muslims. Also, Madurai in the 17th century was a leading trade centre and a rendezvous spot of Indian and European merchants, missionaries, travellers and citizens. Since Thirumalai Nayak, the greatest of the Nayak Kings of Tamilnadu, employed an Italian architect to design the Thiruamalai Nayak Palace, the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal exhibits a beautiful blend of the Dravidian architecture, the Indo-Saracenic architecture as well as the European architecture.

Design of Thirumalai Nayak Palace

Madurai was the capital of the Nayaka Kings of Tamilnadu, and so of Thirumalai Nayak as well. He wanted his palace, the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, to be a major landmark of his capital city Madurai as well as one of the most exquisite palaces of the whole of South India. The Thiruamalai Nayak Palace has a grand architectural style and design. The Thiruamalai Nayak Palace was constructed in 1636, and is an exclusive blend of the Indian, the Islamic and the Europeans schools. The interior design of the Thirumalai Nayak Palace outwits almost all of its contemporaries in terms of detailing and style. Nevertheless, the exterior part of the Thiruamalai Nayak Palace is more simple in comparison to the interior of the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal.

Architectural Excellence in the Court

Courtyard of Thiruamalai Nayakkar Mahal

The courtyard of the Thiruamalai Nayakkar Mahal is a pleasant place. After crossing through the gates of the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, the verdurous panorama of the courtyard of the Thiruamalai Nayak Palace mesmerizes the visitors to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace. The central courtyard of the Thirumalai Nayak Palace measures about 41,979 sq. feet, which, indeed is a vast piece of greenery. The central courtyard of the Thiruamalai Nayakkar Mahal is a circular garden. The central courtyard of the Thiruamalai Nayakkar Mahal is surrounded by colossal pillars which are very majestic at the same time.

Interior of Thiruamalai Nayak Palace

The original Thirumalai Nayak Palace was bifurcated into two sections - Swarga Vilasam or the Divine Abode and the Ranga Vilasam or the Mundane Abode. The Swarga Vilasam consisted of the royal residence, the court, the shrine the armory, and the royal bandstand. Other things like the theatre, the apartments, the quarters, the garden etcetera were in the Ranga Vilasam.

Ceiling of the Throne Chamber

Unfortunately, only one fourth of the original Thirumalai Nayak Palace survives till date. There is a beautiful arcaded octagon, covered by a high dome, in the central Throne Chamber. It is approximately 60–70 feet high. The central dome is supported by ribs of stone and titanic pillars and scalloped arches, which exhibits the aforesaid blend of the three different styles and schools of architecture. The pillars are 13 metres tall and are conjoined together by a foliated brick-work. The entablature rises up to 20 metres. The decoration of the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal made use of shell lime, blended with egg white, to give it a smooth texture coupled with a glossy furnishing.

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