It was the first day of my stay in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I had arrived with my daughter Sanvi on a Sunday morning. We spent a relaxing time in the hotel, took breakfast there and started off to venture several visiting places of Madurai. As I have a keen interest in visiting architectural buildings, I decided to make a visit to the Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal in Madurai which is known to be one of the best places here.
The palace opens for public at around 9 am in the morning and stays open till 5 pm in the evening. With a very nominal entry fee which was as less as Re.1, I and my daughter entered into it. The Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal, as the name suggests was built by Thirumalai Nayakar in the year 1636 during his reign from 1623-1645. The palace exhibits one of the best art forms in Indosaracenic styl. The paintings, carvings, various inscriptions and designs imprinted in the palace just speak how skilled the Nayak Kings and the kingdom were.
As we moved round the palace, we could find 248 pillars each of height 58 feet and 5 feet diameter supporting the gigantic palace. Stucco works made of Chunnam or lime powder in the arches and domes enhance the beauty of the palace and take it to the next higher level. The dancing hall present in the courtyard of the Mahal is also one of the best places in it. The beautiful paintings of Saivist and Vaishnavist mythology were hung through the palace which depicted how marvelous and rich our culture was in those days.
The entire palace is now a visiting place for tourists. Several Bollywood films are also shot there, one of which is the famous movie Bombay. There is a light and sound show which is played 6:15 p.m. in English. Again there was a nominal charge of just Rs.10 for me and Rs.5 for Sanvi. She enjoyed the light and sound show as it featured few of the beautiful art forms and picturing of documentaries. Our trip to the Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal was quite wonderful and worth remembering.