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Thirumalai Nayakar Palace

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Important Info

  • Palace Timing : 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Fee : Adults - Rs. 10 & Children - Rs. 5
  • Light show ( E ) : 6:45 pm to 7:35 pm
  • Light show ( T ) : 8:00 pm to 8:50 pm 
  • Fee : Adults - Rs. 50 & Children - Rs. 25
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Built by King Thirumalai Nayak (or Nayakkar) in 1636 is a fusion of Indo-Islamic architecture. However, the elaborate entablature and rounded pillars suggest that it has shades of European, especially, Italian architecture.

This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. There is an archaeological museum which contains artifacts unearthed from South India dating back to 102 AD. A Sound and Light show is conducted in the palace premises daily at 6.30 PM.

The sound and light show doesn’t involve any laser or fountains. It involves strategically placed lighting illuminating the palace is a well coordinated sequence, along with audio that narrates the history or a role play involving king, queen, his commander etc. The sound and lights show at Thirumalai Nayagar Palace lasts exactly 50 minutes.

Current palace complex as it stands today is reportedly the main building. Rest of the buildings around it are gone. After independence, the Thirumalai Palace was declared as a national monument  and is now under the protection of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department. Thirumalai Nayak Palace, is a notable architectural masterpiece and one of the wonders of Tamil Nadu.

Travel Tips

  • Day time opening hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Entry fee: Rs 10 for adults, Rs 5 for children, Rs 50 for foreign nationals, Rs 30 for still camera and Rs 100 for video camera.
  • Sound and light English show from 6.45 PM to 7.35 PM
  • Sound and light Tamil show from 8 PM to 8.50 PM
  • Sound and light Fee - Adult: Rs 50, children/students: Rs 25, same fee for international tourists as well and there's no separate fee for cameras.
  • This is favourite shooting spot for Mani Ratnam movies.

Detailed Information

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. Many may not know that Thirumalai Nayakar excavated a large area of land to take out mud for making bricks used in the Palace, to become a huge pond – Mariamman Theppa Kulam of today. It is here the annual Theppam (float festival) of Meenakshi Amman takes place in January/February with a lot of fan-fare. 

The palace was divided into two major parts, namely Swarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) and Ranga Vilasam. Presently, only the Swargavilasa and a few
adjacent buildings have survived. The Sorga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion), measuring 75m x 52m, constructed entirely of brick and mortar without the support of a single rafter or girder, is a marvel of Indo-Saracenic architectural style. Among other striking features of the palace are the massive white pillars, several of which line the corridor that runs along the courtyard.

The most popular Nayak ruler in Madurai is said to be Thirumalai Nayakar who won the hearts of his people through the reforms he made in the city. Many of his works are still in use in the city and he was responsible for completing the construction works in the Meenakshi Amman temple.


Near by Places

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakshi Amman Temple

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