Interior of the Throne Roon in the Palace of Tirumala Nayyak
Watercolour drawing of the interior of the Throne Roon in the Palace of Tirumala Nayaka at Madurai, by an anonymous artist working in the South India/Madurai style, c.1840
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, entrance gate, dance hall and main hall, seen here, are the only parts of the palace that are left extant from the original structure. The Celestial Pavilion (Swarga Vilasa) was used as the throne-room and has an arcaded octagon covered by a dome 60-70 feet high.