Thirumalai Nayak Mahal
The Thirumalai Nayak's palace is open to the public from 9.00a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2.00p.m. to 5.00 p.m. The most imposing remnant is a huge Audience hall opening into a countryard with elaborately ornamented arches. A sound and light show depicting the story of Thirumalai Nayak and Silappathikaram (a Tamil Epic) can be seen here daily.
The stuccowork on its domes and arches is remarkable. The gigantic pillars and structures represent the amazing architectural mastery of Nayak Kings. The most remarkable part of this palace is the "Swarga Vilasam", which served as the audience hall. Its dome, which lies beyond a huge courtyard, is a magnificent example of the engineering skill of its builders, rising as it does to a height of 20m without support of any kind.
The courtyard and the dancing hall are being the center of attractions. There are around 248 pillars of each 58 feet tall and 5 feet diameter. Furniture and utensils used by the kings have been exhibited inside the palace.
Lord Napier renovated the palace in 1866-72 and later further restoration works were carried on. Today the main attraction of the palace is light and sound show, which is based on the life of "Tirumalai Nayakar "and Silapathikaram in both Tamil and English languages.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air : Madurai is connected by air with Mumbai and Chennai. Madurai airport is 10-km away from the city.
Rail : Madurai has direct rail connections to Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kollam, Chennai, Rameswaram, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, Tirupathi and Tuticorin.
Road : There are excellent roads connecting Madurai to all parts of South India. Madurai city has 5 Major Bus Stands- Periyar Bus Stand, Anna Bus Stand, Palanganatham Bus Stand, Arapalayam Bus Stand, Mattuthavani Bus Stand.
WHERE TO STAY
Varied accommodation options ranging from star to economy class to small budgeted hotels are available in Madurai.