Thirumalai Nayak Palace of India is an example of architectural grandeur and was built by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636 AD. The palace was designed by an Italian Architect and served as the residence of the King. It is situated at a distance of 2.5 km from the Meenakshi temple of Madurai. The palace is divided into two major parts, Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa, which include the royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden.
During his reign, King Nayak conducted daily dance and music
performances in the Thirumalai Nayak Palace. He used to offer prayers to
Goddess Rajrajeswari every morning in the palace shrine. The shrine is
richly carved in stone and its dome was once covered with gold. Later,
the palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the
valuables were shifted to other places, so that he could build his own
palace. The original Nayak Palace Complex was four times bigger than the
Today, the palace is famous for its courtyard and the dancing hall.
Tourists are fascinated by the paintings and sculptures in the shrine.
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. Furniture and utensils used
by the kings have also been exhibited in the palace which transports the
visitors to the historic era.
After independence, the palace was declared as a national monument. It
is now looked after by the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department.
Tourists can visit the palace anytime between 9 am and 5 pm on payment
of the entrance fee. Enthusiasts can also enjoy the Light and Sound
shows organized in the palace. The shows are in both Tamil and English
languages. They narrate the tales about the glory of King Thirumalai,
his passion for arts, his victories in battle and his love for his
subjects. The duration of each show is half an hour.