Photograph from an album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. The palace at Madurai in Tamil Nadu was erected by
Tirumala, an illustrious king of the Nayaka dynasty who ruled from 1623-59. It 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 other structures. The European figure posed in the background (probably Lyon himself) gives an indication of scale. 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, explains that this view 'represents the interior of the.. Arcade...that on the north side of the quadrangle. The pillars on the right...are about 45 feet in height, and 5 feet diameter, and support the highly ornamented arches, upon which rest the terraces covering the inner arcade or raised cloister. The outer pillars of this arcade may be seen on the left in the Photograph; they are 16 feet high, and together with two similar rows, rest on an elevated terrace, 8 feet above the floor of the quadrangle, while the two high pillars, the third and fourth in the view, aid in supporting the roof of the lofty hall in the centre'.