No other Madurai building better illustrates the Nayak architectural style. Built in 1523, the palace of Nayak Tirumalai, 1 km from the temple, is in the Indo-Saracenic style. Originally four times larger than today, it included the royal residence, a theatre, a harem, a pond and gardens. Today, there is still a hall with sculpted vaults. Its most remarkable part is the Swarga Vilasam dome, which is a magnificent example of the technical competence of its builders, climbing to a height of 20 m without any support. In 1822, under British rule, several renovation works were undertaken by Lord Napier. Sound and light shows dedicated to Nayak Tirumalai and the history of Silappathikaram (a Tamil classic) are given every day (at 18:45 in English, Rs 50).
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