Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal is a 17th century palace erected by Thirumalai Nayak of Madurai’s Nayak dynasty. The palace which is seen today was the main palace where the king lived. The original palace is believed to be four times bigger than the present one.
Entrance of the palace
The king constructed the palace to mark the shift of his capital from Tiruchi to Madurai. He is said to have utilized the services of an Italian architect to design the palace.
It is famous for its giant pillars. While the arches and domes reflect the Indo-Saracenic style, the pillars are a testimony of Gothic style.
Unfortunately, King’s grandson demolished much of the structure in later years to build his own palace in Tiruchi. He removed most of the jewels and wood carvings to build his palace. However, the palace was never constructed.
The Dance Hall
Whatever remains of the palace that we find at present is mainly because of the reconstruction that was undertaken by Lord Napier, Governor of Madras in 1870.
The Main Hall of the palace
The structure was constructed using foliated brickwork. The surface details and the exquisite stucco work was done using shell lime (chunnam) mixed with egg white to get a smooth and glossy texture.
One surely must have seen the palace pillars in the famous movie "Bombay" and its' well-known song "Kehna hi kya..."