Posted on: 23 October 2015

Courtyard of the palace of Raja Tirumala Nayyak (1625-59), Madura.
Drawn by W.G.P. Jenkins, William W. Whelpdale and Ravanat Naik - 1840

Watercolour drawing of the courtyard of the palace of Raja Tirumala Nayyak at Madurai, by W.G.P. Jenkins, William W. Whelpdale and Ravanat Naik, dated c.1840. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'Courtyard of the Palace of Tremul Naig, Madura.' 'Drawn by Lieuts Jenkins and Whelpdale and Ravanat Naig.'

Tirumala Nayaka (r. 1623-59) was one of the most important rulers of the Nayaka dynasty and was an ambitious builder; the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex which dominates the centre of the town dates to his reign. The Tirumala Nayaka Palace was built in 1636 and was intended to be one of the grandest palaces in South India. Yet shortly after the palace was completed in 1659, Tirumalai's grandson Chokkanatha took the Nayaka throne. During Chokkanatha's reign the capital was transferred to Tiruchirapalli and large parts of this palace were dismantled. The courtyard in this drawing, along with the entrance gate, main hall and dance hall, are the only parts of the palace that are left extant from the original structure.

Text and image credit: The British Library Board


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Statue of King Tirumala Nayak. Madura

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Wonderful palace seems to be in good conditions