Nayak Palace Madurai

By Sanjeev Nayyar esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net | 2016

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Visited Madurai in January 2016 to see the famous Meenakshi Mandir. This is the courtyard of the Durbar Hall in Nayak Palace. It was made in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak. The original palace was 4 times the size of what you see today. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places.

Side view of Durbar Hall. Chairs are for Light and Sound Show that takes place in the evening. I did go but too many mosquitos. Show in English 6.45 pm, Tamil about 7.30 pm. Pl check. During the 19th century, Lord Napier, Governor of Madras made major renovations.

Top of every circular pillar is mythological animal and right above in a horizontal row are images of animals.

The palace is called Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. It was made in 1636 by an Italian architect. Originally it had 2 parts Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa of which the former has survived. Swargavilasa has 2 parts, one is Durbar Hall and Nataka both of whom you see in this album.

Close up view of entrance to the Durbar Hall. Pillars are imposing and make palace aesthetically appealing.

Massive white pillars which line the corridor that runs along the courtyard. They are 20 m in height and 4 m in circumference. To know more Click here

View from different angle, shows courtyard area too.

What you saw were pillars at level one, this is to its right.

Most impressive was work in ceilings. On 4 sides are mythological animals. Each side centre are Kirti Mukhi to ward away evil spirits.

This is a simple ceiling. When painted would look lovely.

Shows arches and ceiling. "One of the domes stands without the support of girder -an architectural feat of everlasting wonder. They must have been an extravagance of stucco in its heyday."

Close up of ceiling. Lower level animal looks like lion, mythological animal on left and right side and kirti mukha in the centre. The palace is famous for its Stuccowork on its domes and arches.

Entrance vertical. See arches, paintings on wall and ceiling and windows at end of pic. Clearly ventilation important.

Horizontal view close up of arches. Animal figures not distinct.

Love paintings on the ceilings. This appears like a restoration but beautiful nevertheless.

Maharaja Chair - notice the painting and arches design. "It is the Throne Chamber, a vast room with a raised, octagonal dom." Not sure if it is this dome that stands without the support of a girder.

Simple horizontal view of the Maharaja Chair.

Close up of intricate work on arches. Images dominated by animals and kirti mukhas. Impressive stuccowork.

Arches with painting on ceiling.

Arches pic taken from a different angle. Hope these pics are able to convey the grandeur of this palace.

Lots of brass shops in Madurai. Cheaper than Chennai, and quality seemed comparable.

Arches, ceiling painting and windows. Awesome. This is a well maintained palace.

Ceiling on either side of the arches.

Pillars, arches - see animals above arch and painting in ceiling.

Ceiling painting - lower level of painting at end, looks like a mirror all around the painting.

Ceiling painting. " The ceilings are decorated with huge paintings, based on Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes. The painting of the marriage of Sundareswarar with Devi Meenakshi is an exemplary work of art."

This palace was built by Thirumalainaikar in 1636, amongst the greatest of the Naik rulers. Area that we see today is where the King held his court. At backyard was lotus pond and flower garden, Surrounding palace were 12 metre high walls.

Nataksala or Dance Hall.

Arches design - walls have animals and kirti mukha. Impressive stuccowork.

Standing mythological animal, centre is kirti mukha to ward away evil spirits.

Note the exquisite design. Local ladies use old saris to make small handbags, very good for about Rs 30/. Ladies stand near car park. Bought 4 for Rs 130/. Regret why did not buy 12 since everyone I gifted to loved them.

NATAKSALA. This spacious hall was where the King and his wives watched dance performances every evening. Dances were to musical instruments in the light provided by burning torchlights. A portion of the palace was called Rangavilasa. In the north eastern was a temple dedicated to Rajeshwari, no longer in existence.

Clock Tower - visible from garden area.

Painting ceiling.

East tower of the majestic and world famous Meenakshi Temple Madurai.