Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. General view looking towards the palace at Madurai in Tamil Nadu, with the British courthouse in the foreground. The palace was erected by
Tirumala, an illustrious king of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty who ruled from 1623-59. The palace
complex occupied a large area located in the south-eastern part of the city, a short distance from the Minakshi temple, but in the 18th century many structures were pulled down or incorporated into buildings in the adjacent streets. What remains is the enclosed court known as the Svarga Vilasam and a few adjoining buildings. The audience chamber of the Svarga Vilasam is a vast hall with arcades about 12 ms high. The architecture is a blend of indigenous and Islamic forms. In Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, he wrote that this photograph 'is a view of the Palace seen as it is approached from the road. The new white building in the foreground has lately been erected by the English Government, for a Court House; the roof of several of the halls in the palace, where these Courts previously held their sittings, having been pronounced unsafe. The two towers belong to the palace, being situated at the north-east and south-east corners of the quadrangle to be described presently. The domes are those covering the various halls and cloisters, and...are surrounded by arched galleries, which were erected to enable the ladies of the court to look down upon the pageantry in the quadrangle on festival occasions, without being themselves observed...'