Sunday, 5 October 2014

Long drive to Delhi - 6 : Nayak Palace, Madurai

Nayaks ruled the Madurai kingdom from 1545 to 1740. One of the Nayak kings Thirumalai Nayak is noted for buildings constructed in the town. The palace was built in 1636 during his tenure. At the time traders & missionaries from Europe frequented the place & the King is said to have engaged an Italian architect for construction.

After 400 years 25% of the palace has survived which is known as Swarg Vilasam. It is famous for it's pillars 82 ft high & having 19 ft width. Construction is in bricks, shell lime or chunnam mixed with egg white to give a glossy finish.

No Guide was available there & the guard posted there gave sketchy information. Palace is less than 2 km from Meenakshi Temple. Some photos:  

Entrance of the Palace

Grand & impressive courtyard of the Palace. Pillars give a magnificent look & are unusual in southern India. Courtyard measures approx 42000 sq ft. Chairs are for sound & light show held in the evenings 

Stairs leading to Durbar Hall

Metallic horse with rider near the stair case. Four hundred years have taken their toll on these beautiful sculpture. Never mind the floor maintained by ASI. 

Pillars & more pillars. Short pillars in Hall & taller ones in corridors

Replica of King's throne. Original golden chair of course must be lying somewhere in British museum & should be claimed back

This pic is of Nataksala or the theatre. Beautifully decorated right up to the ceiling  

Statues of kings & gods adorn the walls 

Imported glass panes add colour to the building

This is the plan of the entire palace of which 25% in pink shade survived

Magnificent corridor 

Decorated ceiling

Decorated ceiling

A view of the courtyard

Such earthen pots were used to keep ashes of the people who died at the age of 100 or more

As it happens with other monuments people do disfigure. Who is to be blamed? 

Royal Palace serves as parking lot for may be, staff of ASI

1. Charging higher fees from foreigners is not understood. They in fact can circulate / publicize the monuments to wider audience. And not all of them are rich, there are backpackers & students also. 2. Another outdated idea is charges for 'still camera & video camera'. Any good mobile can do the trick. Also if more pictures are taken & circulated more visitors can be expected.  ASI please review.
Lot many ancient stone sculptures are kept  adjacent to the Palace under shed. They are worth a look

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