Step into the Grandeur of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal – A Majestic Palace in Madurai

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the Thirumalai
Nayakkar Mahal, an architectural marvel located in the bustling city of
Madurai, India. We are excited to take you on a journey to discover the
grandeur and beauty of this historic monument that has stood the test of time.

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is a palace located in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It was built by King Thirumalai Nayak in the 17th century as a symbol of the Nayak dynasty’s power and influence in the region. The palace is a perfect blend of Dravidian and Islamic architectural styles, with its vast courtyard, grand halls, and ornate arches. The palace was designed to impress the king’s visitors and to hold his court and administrative offices.

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal has two main parts, the Swarga Vilasa and the Ranga Vilasa. The Swarga Vilasa, which means Heavenly Pavilion, is the palace’s private area. It has an open courtyard surrounded by a gallery, and it was used by the king and his family. The Ranga Vilasa, which means Audience Hall, was used for the king’s official business and was the place where he received his visitors.

Thirumalai Nayak Mahal main attractions are its grand halls, which are adorned with intricate stucco work, murals, and carvings. The most impressive of these halls is the Durbar Hall, which is 20 meters high and 75 meters long. The Durbar Hall was used for state functions, and it has a throne that was used by the king. The palace also has a museum that showcases the Nayak dynasty’s history and artifacts.

Today, Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is a major tourist attraction in Madurai, and it is open to the public for viewing. Visitors can take a guided tour of the palace and learn about its history and architecture. The palace is particularly popular during the sound and light show that is held every evening, which showcases the palace’s grandeur and the Nayak dynasty’s legacy.

History of Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal 

Thirumalai Nayak was a great king of the Madurai Kingdom who ruled from
1623-1659. During the 17th century, the kingdom was visited by
Portuguese, Dutch, and other European traders, missionaries, and
travelers. Unfortunately, over the course of 400 years, the palace
suffered significant damage due to war, and some parts were converted
into use by the garrison as granaries, storehouses, and powder

Thirumalai Nayak’s grandson demolishing much of the
fine structure and removing many of the jewels and woodcarvings, Lord
Napier, the Governor of Madras, partially restored the palace from 1866
to 1872. Today, after further restoration work, visitors can see the
Entrance Gate, Main Hall, and Dance Hall of the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
in Madurai.

Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal Design

The Thirumalai Nayak Mahal in Madurai was built in 1636 by Thirumalai
Nayak, who intended it to be one of the grandest palaces in South India.
The palace features Dravidian-Italian architecture, which may have been
influenced by the presence of Portuguese, Dutch, and other European
traders and missionaries in the kingdom. Although much of the palace was
destroyed or incorporated into adjacent buildings in the 18th century,
the Svarga Vilasam court and a few adjoining buildings remain. 

audience chamber is a vast hall with 12-meter-high arcades, and the
courtyard measures 75 meters by 50 meters. The palace is a blend of
indigenous and Islamic architecture and is known for its giant pillars,
which are 82 feet in height and 19 feet in width. The palace originally
measured 554,000 square feet and was 900 feet long and 660 feet wide.
The interior of the palace is richly decorated, while the exterior is
treated in a more austere style.

Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, a grand palace built in 1636, was once
divided into two main parts, Swarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) and
Ranga Vilasam. The palace complex included a royal residence, theater,
shrine, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters,
pond, and garden. 

The courtyard and dancing hall were popular
attractions. The Swarga Vilasam served as the throne room, featuring an
arcaded octagon with a dome that was 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 m) high.
This domed structure was supported by stone ribs and massive circular
columns, connected by pointed scalloped arches with an arcaded gallery
opening into the nave above the side aisles.

The magnificent Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal was constructed using
exquisite foliated brickwork and adorned with stucco, which was made by
mixing chunnam (shell lime) with egg white to give a glossy texture. Two
exceptional equestrian statues previously flanked the steps leading to
the hall. 

The massive pillars supporting the arches are about 13 meters
(43 ft) tall and decorated with shell lime. The structure is crowned
with pavilions that have gold-covered finials on either side of the
courtyard. The valance and the entablature rising up to a height of 20
metres (66 ft) are again joined by foliated brickwork.

Features of the Palace

The Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal is a stunning example of South
Indian architecture and boasts many features that are sure to impress visitors.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights:

The Main Entrance: The entrance to the palace is through a
massive gate that is flanked by two huge stone elephants. The gate leads to a
vast courtyard that is surrounded by arched corridors and pillared halls.

The Throne Room: The throne room is one of the most
impressive parts of the palace. It is a large rectangular room that is
supported by eight pillars and has a magnificent dome. The throne itself is
made of black stone and is in the shape of a lotus.

The Dance Hall: The palace also has a grand dance hall that
is used for cultural events and performances. The hall is decorated with
intricate carvings and has a raised platform for the performers.

The Courtyard: The palace has a beautiful courtyard that is
surrounded by pillared corridors. The courtyard is home to a large tank that
was used for bathing and other water-related activities.

The Stucco Work: The palace is known for its intricate
stucco work that covers the ceilings and walls. The stucco work depicts scenes
from Hindu mythology and is a sight to behold.

National Monument

Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal was declared a national monument after India
gained independence and is currently protected by the Tamil Nadu
Archaeological Department. The palace is open to visitors every day and
has become a popular location for film shoots, particularly due to the
large pillars present.

Some notable films shot here include “Bombay,”
“Guru,” and “Bheemaa.” The palace also offers light and sound shows that
depict the story of Silappathikaram in both Tamil and English
languages. Visitors can purchase tickets to enter the palace, and it is
open from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5:30 pm.

In conclusion, the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal is a
masterpiece of Indian architecture and a testament to the creativity and skill
of the artisans and craftsmen of the Nayak dynasty. The palace is a must-visit
for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture.

Thank you for reading our comprehensive guide to the
Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. We hope you found it informative and enjoyable.

 Places to visit in Madurai

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