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Madurai


Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal

Thirumalai Nayakkar MahalCounted as one of the top tourist attractions of Madurai. The ‘Temple City’ not only holds the history and pride of holding various temples, but also stands atop in having a national monument. “Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal”. Thirumalai Nayak Mahal is a magnificent palace which dates back to 1636. Built by the Nayak king, Thirumalai Nayak, The colossal structure of the palace is a curious blend of Dravidian and Islamic styles of architecture. In the city of Madurai, India. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Rajput styles.This illustrious monument was constructed to mark the shift of the king’s capital from Tiruchi to Madurai, which was done for Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahaladministrative and strategic reasons. In its glorious years, the Palace was considered to be one of the wonders of South India as it used to be four times bigger than the actual edifice. Located in the main city of Madurai, and just 2 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple, this palace is easily accessible by all major modes of transport in the city. it will be  feast to your eyes visiting Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal.

DESIGN

The portico known as Swarga Vilasam is an arcaded octagon wholly constructed of brick and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder, standing testimony to the skill of the Nayaks. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.

LAYOUT

Upon entering into the gates of the palace, the visitor enters into present day’s huge central courtyard measuring 3,700 m˛ (41,979 sq ft). The courtyard is surrounded by massive circular pillars. Now it has a circular garden.

Thirumalai Nayakkar MahalThe existing building is a huge pavilion(75m x 35m)called Swarga Vilasam(Celestial Abode) . The pillars of this pavilion are 20m high and 4m in circumference. The arches are ornamented. The dome of this pavilion is an engineering marvel, It has no griders. There is an entertainment hall (Nataka Salai) to the north western side of the Swarga Vilasam. To the west of the Swarga Vilasam, a number of rooms are situated which were meant for ladies of the Royal family.

There is a underground path that leads to Meenakshi amman temple through which prince and their families move to safer places during the war period. Yet we can see the path in amman temple, swamy byravar inside Swami shrine.

Thirumalai Nayakkar MahalThirumalai Nayak Mahal, managed by the Archaeological Department of India, was declared a National Monument after the Indian independence. The palace has an archaeological museum which houses artifacts, idols, pottery, pillar-stones, scripts and paintings unearthed from various places in South India, right from the 102 A.D. Restored in 1858 by Lord Napier (the then Governor of Madras), Thirumalai Nayak Palace has a minimalistic and rather-bland exterior. But on the interior, its grandeur is unparalleled and extraordinary that many of its contemporaries in India. The palace is a blend of Italian, Islamic, European and Dravidian style of architecture. While the domes and arches signify the Islamic touch, the huge and tall white columns speak for the Italian style. The Dravidian style is visible in the patterns on the walls, the ceiling, the windows and the arch ways of the palace.

Sound and Light Show:

Sound and light show the only one of its kind in South India, Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a feast to the eyes in the evening. This show was established during 1981 when the fifth world tamil conference was conducted. The programme was engineered by the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu  Mr.M.G.Ramachandran. The Indian cultural department conducts the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahalfamous Sound and Light Show at the palace premises daily. The show, an amazing spectacle of sound and light, narrates in a subtle and interesting way the lifetimes of King Thirumalai. Myriad hues of light plays truant with the palace walls transforming the dark courtyard and surrounding area into a real vista of the Thirumalai Nayak’s Madurai. The show is an ode to King Thirumalai and his glory. It presents anecdotes from his life – his victories, his enemies, his daily routine, his passion for arts and his vision for the city – in dramatic and regal splendor. The palace turns into a symphony of sound and light at night time, with every pillar becoming an eloquent story teller and every cornerstone narrating the glory of the past.

The Sound and Light show takes place every day from 6.30 PM (IST). The English show happens at 6.30 PM while the Tamil (local language) show is scheduled at 8 PM. The duration of each show is half an hour.

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