Situated on the banks of river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu, although
Madurai is known as industrial town, it is more of a temple
town. When you arrive in Madurai, you are greeted by the splendid
Gopurams of the Meenakshi temple. The temple, anyway, is a
hub for all the activities taking place in the town be it
festivities, processions and grandeur of the temple. The city
was prominent even in the ancient times and it was even known
as the Athens of the East.
This museum is located in the Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal
of the Nayak Dynasty. Earlier, the place used to be the official
residence of the district collectors of Madurai. It was in
1955 that the building and the 12 acre land were given to
Gandhi Smarak Nidhi by the then Tamil Nadu Government. The
museum has a noteworthy collection of remarkable paintings,
sculptures, articles and Khadi crafts.
Tirumalai Nayak Mahal:
Built in the 17th century by the King Thirumalai Nayak, the
palace is a huge structure built in the Indo-Saracenic style.
It is said that today only one-fourth part of the original
structure has survived which includes the Swargavilasa and
the Rangavilasa. The palace was partially renovated by the
then Governor of Madras, Lord Napier.
The temple is located at the heart of the city of Madurai
and is the focus of national as well as international tourists'
attention. It is central to the religious as well as to the
cultural life of the city of Madurai. The temple is a very
fine example of the Dravidian architecture complete with its
gopurams which is nothing but large gateways and halls where
you can see fine carvings of mythical figures on the walls
of these multi pillared large halls otherwise known as Mandapams.