Raja Tirumala Nayyak's Choultry, Madura. Drawn by W.G.P. Jenkins, William W. Whelpdale and Ravanat Naik
Artist: Jenkins, William Griffith Pitt (d.1851)
Watercolour of a pillared pavilion of the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple at Madurai, by William Griffith Pitt Jenkins, William Walter Whelpdale and Ravanat Naik, c.1840. Inscribed on front in ink: 'Tremul Naig's Choultry, Madura. Drawn by Lieuts Jenkins and Whelpdale and Ravanat Naig.'
The Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex contains two main shrines; one dedicated to Shiva and one to his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. Each shrine is set within its own walled complex containing several subsidiary shrines, mandapas (assembly halls) and artificial pools. The construction of this temple-town was made possible by the wealth and power of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659). He was the most prolific builder of a long line of Nayaka kings, a dynasty who ruled a large portion of Tamil country in the 16th and 17th centuries. The whole site, which mostly dates from the 17th century, is enclosed within a rectangular precinct which covers six hectares and has 11 huge gopurams or towers, the biggest of which mark four entrances from the four cardinal points. This view depicts one of the mandapas, a long hall with pillars that are elaborately carved with figures of divinities, attendants and foliate decorations.