View of the bed-room [dance hall] from the east, Tirumal Naick's Palace, Madura
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior of Tirumala Nayaka's Palace at Madurai in Tamil Nadu, taken by a photographer Archaeological Survey of India in 1899-1900. The Nritya Sabha or Dance Hall, seen in this view, adjoins the Darbar or Audience Hall in the north-west corner of the palace. 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 animals, birds and scrollwork. Most of this plasterwork decoration dates from the 19th century restoration of the palace under the aegis of Lord Napier, governor of Madras, 1866-72. In the 16th century Madurai became an independent kingdom under the Nayakas, formerly governors of the Vijayanagara empire, and Tirumala (1623-59), the most important ruler of that dynasty, was an ambitious builder. He patronised the reconstruction of the great Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex which dominates the centre of the town. His palace, built in 1636, is situated south-east of the temple. The palace complex once occupied a large area but many structures were pulled down in the 18th century or used for buildings in the adjoining streets. An enclosed court known as the Svarga Vilasam remains, and a few adjacent structures. The audience chamber of the Svarga Vilasam is a vast arcaded hall.