The Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, is a magnificent palace which dates back to 1636. Built by the Nayakar king, Thirumalai Nayakar, the palace is a curious blend of Dravidian and Islamic styles of architecture. It was built as a residence for the king of the Nayakar kingdom when their capital was at Madurai.
Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal in Madurai is famous for its impressive arches and “stucco work” on its domes. The austere exteriors offset the palatial interiors, with tall, white pillars lining the corridors. These pillars are a characteristic feature of the palace and are 20 m high and 4 m in circumference. It was stripped off much of its grandeur by Thirumalai Nayakar’s grandson, who took away most of the woodcarvings and jewels to build a palace for himself in Tiruchirapalli, though he was never successful in that endeavour. Currently, the palace exists in its present glory, thanks to the efforts of Lord Napier, the British Governor of Madras, who renovated the palace between 1866 and 1872.
The complex now runs a sound and light show every evening to explain about the history of the palace and Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, praising his work as a ruler for the benefit of his subjects. The grandeur of King Thirumalai Nayakar’s Palace, built in 1636, is still evident. It is a beautiful structure, with a massive courtyard, surrounded by corridors lined with sculpted pillars that rise 40 ft high. Don’t miss out the interesting museum inside.