The Thirumalai Palace Madurai is a beautiful palace built in the 16th century by the Nayaka king Thirumalai Nayaka. It was constructed in 1636 and the architecture of the palace is a perfect blend of Hindu and Arabic style. The place is at a distance of about 1.5 km from the world-famous Meenakshi temple.
Structure of the Thirumalai Palace:
This palace was constructed by King Thirumalai Nayakkar and his name is given to the palace. The impressive structure is renowned for the “Stuccowork” on its arches and imposing domes. There is a Sorgavilasam which means the Celestial Pavilion inside the palace. The Thirumalai Palace Madurai measures about 75m x 52 m and is built completely with mortar and bricks, with no provision of a single rafter or girder. The Palace is a marvelous edifice of Indo-Saracenic architectural style. There are massive white pillars which are other outstanding structures of the palace. Many of the pillars are arranged in the corridor that runs along the courtyard. Linked by high adorned arches, these pillars are about 20m in height with a perimeter of 4m. You can also see black stone pillars of different heights which are finely polished. Most parts of the brilliant edifice were destroyed by the grandson of King Thirumalai Nayak. He ruined a major part of the jewels and wooden carvings to construct a palace of his own in Tiruchirappalli. However, he was unsuccessful in this endeavor.
Some of the structure was then restored in 1866-72 by Lord Napier, who was the then Governor of Madras. Consequent renovation works were done many years after. Nowadays you can see the Entrance Gate, the Main Hall and the Dance Hall inside the Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace Madurai. Every day there is a sound and light show in English at about 6:45 in the evening and Tamil at 8:00 in the evening. This half an hour show exhibits the qualities of King Thirumalai, mainly his appetite for arts, his triumphs in battles and his love for his people.
The palace has a light and sound show depicting the lives of Thirumalai Naikkara and Silapatikaram. Today only one-quarter of the temple remains. There are about 248 pillars at the Thirumalai Palace Madurai which are 58 feet high. The roof of the palace depicts images related to the life of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. This palace is a wonderful piece of architecture. The domes and arches of the temple are built in the stupa style of architecture. These depict utensils and furniture used in the home. The most beautiful work has been done in the entrance, dancing and the main hall of the palace. It was rebuilt by the British in 1860 - 1870.
How to reach Thirumalai Palace
Madurai Airport is situated at Avaniyapuram, which is around 12 kilometers from Madurai. It has several domestic flights to some of the cities in India. The airport also has international flights and services to countries such as Colombo, Dubai, and Singapore.
Madurai Junction is the major railway station in the city. There are direct trains that connect to several major cities in India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai.
Madurai District is well connected with the National Highways NH 7, NH 45B, NH 208 and NH 49. The state highways also pass through the city are SH-33, SH-72, SH-72A, SH-73 and SH-73A which connect various parts of the Madurai district.
Best time to visit Thirumalai Palace
One can visit the palace throughout the year but the best time to visit here is during the winter season when the weather is favorable for the sightseeing tour. The city experience dry and hot climate rest of the year.
Places to visit near Thirumalai Palace
Madurai is renowned for its various famous tourist places. The popular places to visit near Thirumalai Palace are Meenakshi Amman Temple, Gandhi Museum, Alagar Koil, etc.
Madurai Thirumalai Mahal Timings and Entry Fees:
Madurai Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal Timing:
9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M
Madurai Thirumalai Nayakar Mahal Entry Fees:
INR 10 for adults and INR 5 for children