Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Madurai: Sound and light show! - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Thirumalai Nayak Palace, Madurai: Sound and light show!

Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace or Mahal probably qualifies as #2 attraction in Madurai to visit, after the main Meenakshi temple. It is a 17th century palace set up by Thirumalai Nayak of Nayak Dynasty.

I arrived at the entrance of Tirumalai nayakar palace at about 5.45 PM, without knowing if it will be open or not. Noticed that while regular visiting hour has closed, I could still go in during the evening sound and light show, which was just perfect.

The sound and light show doesn’t involve any laser or fountains. It involves strategically placed lighting illuminating the palace is a well coordinated sequence, along with audio that narrates the history or a role play involving king, queen, his commander etc. There are multiple references to King of Mysuru marching towards Madurai, instilling atrocities on the villages en-route and eventually Tirumalai Nayagar’s brave commanders forcing the Mysore army back. Story also explains how the Nayaka dynasty came into existence- Rulers of Vijayanagara empire sends one of his commander to settle a dispute in Madurai, but this commander, upon resolving the matter, declares himself the King, which annoys rules of Vijayanagara-this commander's son who convinces King of Viajayanagara to let him reclaim Madurai invades Madurai again, overthrows his own father and seeks pardon for his father from the king of Vijayanagara, who then lets this fellow continue as King of Madurai, starting the Nayaka Dynasty. Somehow these facts do not match 100% with the information I could see in Wikipedia and other sources. My guess is in order to make the sound and light show story plot interesting, the makers of audio have made small tweaks to suit their needs. (Or may be I didn't research enough?)

Few other elements of the story narrates how the king trusted his commander even after some rumors that commander is planning to kill the king and claim the throne. His hunting skills, his development initiatives etc are narrated during the sound and light show.

The sound and lights show at Tirumalai nayagar palace lasts exactly 50 minutes. Most people started leaving after about 30 minutes- apart from the audio, visuals sort of get repetitive and fail to hold interest. It will be good if the narration is trimmed to 30 minutes and if authorities can leave the lights on for about 10 minutes after the show, so that people can take photographs. Today if I need pics I need to take them while the show is on. As soon as show ends, complete darkness prevails inside the palace and security begins to usher people out. If I walk into the palace during the show,I can't hear the audio well.
I was one of the first few to buy the ticket and when I went in at 6.35 PM, there was still some daylight left. So I could take some pictures.

Below: King's Throne and reflection of evening light through the window

Current palace complex as it stands today is reportedly the main building. Rest of the buildings around it are gone. I could only see large halls, no rooms as such (say where king would have rested)

Overall I am glad I went to Madurai and went to Tirumalai Nayak mahal just in time for the sound and light show.

Thirumalai Nayakar Palace, Madurai: Entry timings and fees:
Day time opening hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Entry fee: Rs 10 for adults, Rs 5 for children, Rs 50 for foreign nationals, Rs 30 for still camera and Rs 100 for video camera.

Sound and light show timing and fees:
English show from 6.45 PM to 7.35 PM
Tamil show from 8 PM to 8.50 PM
Adult: Rs 50, children/students: Rs 25, same fee for international tourists as well and there's no separate fee for cameras.

Which is better? Day time entry is cheaper but if you have a camera it almost costs Rs 40 total- while you get enough time to explore the palace in full day light, you will miss the sound and light show.

If you go for sound and light show and manage to enter at 6.30-35PM, you will still have about 5-10 minutes of day light left. It is possible to take some good pics but not in detail. Interiors will be bit dark. But there will be good illumination during sound and light show and you might be able to manage some good pictures.

Similar: Shivappa Nayak Palace, Shivamogga * Mysuru Palace illuminated * Golden Palace, Bago, Myanmar * Read Meenakshi's coverage of this palace


  1. Nice, In many place as you mentioned camera charges, video charges will be extra. Now days mobile will catch better photo and video in HD. But they do not charge for phone is it not a funny thing. Your views ?

  2. In Vandalur Zoo chennai, mobile cameras are also charged.

    Slowly this will change I think. Everyone will have a mobile phone with camera,so better to increase entry fee a bit and make photography free

  3. The palace looks grand through your pictures. Interesting that you feel light and sound show has tweaked a bit of history!

  4. @Mridula: I just felt so, because King of Mysore was way too large to be defeated by the Nayak. I couldn't find any historical mention of a fight between Mysore and Madurai. Madurai Nayaks have fought Sultan of Bijapur and other kings.

    If I am wrong I will be happy to correct myself, but yes, I felt the audio was tweaked so has to project one king has hero and kind person.

    @Rupam- Thanks

  5. You've captured some amazing pictures, especially the ones when sun was still out. A must visit in Madurai as I see it!

  6. Lovely pictures of the cloistered walkway.

  7. Lovely,beautiful,amazing, fantastic shots.

  8. Nice place..gud description...nice snaps too

  9. I am glad to have stumbled upon this post. I could not be an audience to the show at the Mahal as I visited it in the morning hours :)


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