'N. E. view of the Ruins of the Palace at Madura'. Uncoloured aquatint by J. Wells after a drawing on the spot by Capt. Trapaud, part of a set of his twenty views published London, 1788
Artist: Wells, John (fl.1792-1809)
Uncoloured aquatint by J. Wells after a drawing on the spot by Capt. Trapaud, part of a set of his twenty views published London in 1788, of the ruins of the Palace at Madurai from the north-east.
In the 16th century Madurai was an independent kingdom under the Nayakas. Tirumala Nayaka (1623-60), the most important rulers of that dynasty, was an ambitious builder. He patronised the construction of the imposing Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex which dominates the centre of the town. His Palace, built in 1636, is situated south-east of the temple. Only two sections of the palace survive, the Dance Hall and the Durbar Hall as the rest of the palace was dismantled between 1662 and 1682 when the capital was transferred to Trichinopoly. A rectangular courtyard surrounded by arcades precedes the audience hall. Circular piers covered with elaborate plaster stonework and supporting cusped arches create aisles on four sides of the court with square and rectangular chambers. The throne chamber is situated in the middle of the western wall. The dance hall adjoins the audience hall on the north-west corner. The central space is flanked by an arcade on two sides and chambers with arched windows above. The pointed vault is supported by transverse arches and the cusps of the arches are decorated with plaster animal, birds and scrollwork. Most of this plasterwork decoration dates from the 19th century refurbishment of the palace.