After the visit to Meenakshi Amman Temple and a quite heavy brunch, I went to the Thirumalai Naicker Palace close by.
The legend in front of the palace says:
“This palace was constructed during 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Naicker. It is said that the palace was designed by an Italian architect. It is a great example of Indosaracenic architecture. Originally, this palace was in two segments, Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. Swargavilasa portion alone has survived. In this portion Dharbar hall and Natakasala remain in full shape. It is believed that one portion of this palace was demolished by Chockanatha Naicker the grandson of Thirumalai Naicker and the materials were taken to Thiruchirappalli. Only one fourth portion of the original palace remains at present. In 1858, Lord Naiper the then Governer of Madras took step to restore the palace.”
It is a quite an imposing structure with numerous big pillars that adds to the grandeur. There were a lots of local and surprisingly few tourists. It seems to be a favourite hangout for the college students.
I went about the cool interiors and ended up in a small museum. It had a motley collection of stone sculptures and a few reproductions of the Sittanavasal cave paintings. The museum is poorly maintained, but it is worth visiting this architectural wonder.
This palace is open for the visitors from 9 am to 5 pm and the entry ticket price is Rs.10.
Light & Sound Show:
The palace conducts a daily Light & Sound show that tells the story of Silappathikaram both in Tamil and English languages.
6.45 PM to 7.35 PM in English
8.00 PM to 8.50 PM in Tamil
After the visit to the Thirumalai Naicker Palace, I took a bus to the other side of Madurai to visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum. The bus dropped me off at a distant point and took a walk to the museum. It was a nice walk through the clean, tree-lined road with a plenty of government offices on the either side of the road.
The Gandhi Museum is an imposing structure that was established in 1959. It is one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas (Gandhi Museums) in the country. The historic Tamukkam Palace belonging to Rani Mangammal of Nayak Dynasty built about 1670 AD has been renovated and converted into the museum.
The museum is located in quiet place with “Visual Biography of Gandhi,” a special exhibition on “India Fights for Freedom” with 265 illustrations, depicting the history of the Freedom Movement, and a section called “Relics and Replicas.”
The museum containing photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations and some of the selected photocopies of many of letters written by Gandhi and some of his renderings. The ‘Visual Biography’ contains 124 rare photographs depicting various phases of Mahatma Gandhi right from his childhood days to his death and cremation.
The Relics section has 14 original artifacts used by Gandhiji. There is a Blood Stained Cloth of Mahatma Gandhi used by him on the day of his assassination, it is conserved inside a vacuum glass box.
The idea of nonviolence and the importance of Gandhi is well documented in this museum. I could see a lot of school children and families steadily flowing in and avidly observing the exhibits.
There is a library dedicated to the Gandhian studies and a small museum (which was closed on that day when I had visited).
There is no entry fee, but a voluntary donation can be made at the fag end of the museum. Photography is allowed with a fee of Rs.50/- which goes a donation to the museum.