Thirumalai Nayak Palace, which is considered a wonder of South India, was constructed by Thirumalai Nayak, King of Nayaka dynasty of Madurai, in 1636 AD. This grand palace is a fusion of Islamic and Dravidian architectural styles. The palace was originally four times bigger and it had two parts. The first part was Swargavilasa or the heavenly pavilion, meant for the King, and Ranka Vilasa for servants. The royal residence included palanquin place, apartments, theater, armory and garden. The palace was later demolished by Thirumalai Nayak’s grandson, Chokkanatha Nayak. Most of the woodcarvings and jewels from the palace were removed by him and used to construct his own palace.
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The palace was partially restored by Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras from 1866 to 1872. Today, you get to see the courtyard surrounded by massive pillars, the entrance gate, the dance hall and the main hall. These structures give you a glimpse of the grandeur of the past era. The palace is now maintained by the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department. Light and Sound shows are held in the evening.
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