Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

Weather :

Timings : 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : Adults: INR 10,
Kids: INR 5,
Foreigners: INR 50

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, Madurai Overview

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace was erected in 1636 AD in the city of Madurai, by King Thirumalai Nayak. The palace depicts the perfect blend of Dravidian and Rajput styles. After Independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and till date continues to be one of the spectacular monuments of Southern India. The magnificent palace is located in the vicinity of the very famous Meenakshi Amman Temple. Depicting the Saracenic style of architecture, it was constructed during the rule of Nayak Dynasty and is widely considered as the most illustrious monument built by the Madurai Nayak Dynasty. 

The Thirumalai Nayak Palace was the residence of King Thirumalai Nayak and was approximately four times bigger than what is seen today. The exterior, as well as the interiors of this palace, have been richly adorned. One can notice the excellent stucco work done on the arches and domes of the palace. It showcases an array of architectural wonders ranging from the massive pillars to the over-all daunting structure. There are a total of 248 pillars in this grand palace. Visitors can also enjoy a magnificent sound and light show at Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal.

The main palace is divided into two sections, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are various sections of the royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, royal bandstand, pond and garden. This glorious palace is widely considered as the most illustrious monument constructed by the Madurai Nayak Dynasty. Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal was built to mark the shift of the capital of King Thirumalai Nayak from Tiruchi to Madurai, which was done for strategic and administrative reasons.

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Architecture of Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

The structure of Thirumalai Nayakar Palace is the grandest structure in South India, since its construction. The monument depicts a fusion of Dravidian and Islamic style of architecture. The original structure of the palace was four times what can be seen today. During the 18th century, many structures that were a part of the palace were taken down. It is widely known for its giant pillars, which reach up to 82 feet in height and 19 feet in width. On entering, the visitors can see the huge central courtyard, which is surrounded by circular pillars and a circular garden. The palace is divided into two sections known as Swarga Vilasam and Ranga Vilasam.

The major attractions of the palace are the courtyard and the dancing hall. The entire structure of the palace utilised foliated brickwork, while the smooth and glossy texture of the stucco utilised chunnam or shell lime. One can spot pavilions on either side of the courtyard, which is topped with finials and covered with gold. The magnificent structure of this palace has lured many people to shoot their movies and songs here. Some major constituents of the construction of palace are the palanquin palace, royal bandstand, royal residence, theatre, pond, garden, shrine, apartments, armoury, dancing hall and quarters.

Light and Sound Show at Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

The light and sound show held at the palace every evening involves the presence of strategically placed lighting that illuminates the majestic palace. The coordinated sequence is explained using an audio that narrates the rich culture and history of the kingdom. The makers of this show have incorporated various details in the narration to make it even more engaging and entertaining for the audience. The show lasts for about 50 minutes. The beautiful blend of the audio and visuals during the show are quite entertaining for people of all age groups, especially the culture and history lovers.

The timings and fees for Light and sound show are
English show: 6:45 PM - 7:45 PM
Tamil show: 8:00 PM - 8:50 PM

Adults: INR 50,
Kids/Students: INR25

Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal Timings and Entry Fees

For the general visit, the palace is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with a half an hour lunch break starting at 1:00 PM.

The entry fee is as follows:
Adults: INR 10,
Kids: INR 5,
Foreigners: INR 50, 
Still Camera: INR 30,
Video Camera: INR 100

Best Time To Visit Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

As the weather in Madurai is scorching and humid in the summer months, this palace is best visited in the cooler season. The months from December to February are the ideal months to visit this city in Tamil Nadu. The days are comfortable and pleasant while the nights are a bit warmer, thus making outdoor activities and sightseeing a delightful activity.

History of Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

The kingdom of Madurai was ruled by the Nayaks from 1545 AD till 1740's. The reign of Thirumalai Nayak started in 1623 and continued till 1659. He was one of the greatest rulers of Madurai that contributed notably to the infrastructure of the city. He is believed to recruit the services of an Italian Architect for the construction of Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal.

Over time, the building suffered the adverse effects of war, weather and other forms of destruction. King Thirumalai Nayak's grandson demolished most of the structure and removed all the wooden carvings and jewels to build his palace. The structure was later restored by Lord Napier, who was the governor of Madras between 1866 to1872. The main aim for the construction of this palace was to build the grandest structure of South India.

How To Reach Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace is located on the eastern side of the city. It is placed at about 2 km South-east of the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple. Since Madurai is a tourist hub, it is well connected using railways and other means of transport. One can reach the palace via cabs or buses.

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