Thirumalai Nayak Palace is one of the oldest palace of the country. King Thirumalai Nayak, a popular king of the Nayak dynasty, built this palace during the 17th century, in the year 1636 AD. Thirumalai Nayak, who ruled Madurai between 1623-59, built the Mahal mixing both Rajput and Dravidian style of Architecture.
Even to this day, this palace is one of the best spots of Tourism in Madurai though the actual Mahal was four times larger than what is now. The palace was the place where Nayak kings used to reside.
The place holds such a great significance. It is located at about 2kms from the great Meenakshi Temple.
Thirumalai Nayak has said to have bought architects from Italy in order to get the palace constructed.
Koodal Azhagar Temple is also the oldest temple of Madurai and is situated at the Periyar Bus Stand.
Granite walls surround the Temple and the temple is one among the 108 Divyadesams that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The main deity here is Lord Vishnu in the name “Koodal Azhagar” and Goddess Lakshmi in the name of “Maruthavalli”.
Koodal is another name for Madurai and Azhagar means handsome. Thus, the name ‘Koodal Azhagar’. This temple was built by Pandyas and modifications to the temple were later made by Madurai Nayak and Vijayanagar kings.
The Architecture that can be experienced here is the Dravidian style of Architecture. It is a temple with five tiered gopurams as tall as 125 ft. The temple follows Vadakalai principles and is very popular among Vaishnavites.
As per Mythology, King Vallabhadeva used to roam around in disguise during the night. One scholar told him “Work during summer and save for winter” which means the end goal of life is “Work when young and save for future”. So, to understand this deeply, the King conducted a competition.
Vishnuchitta from Srivilliputhur who later became Periazhwar explained many things from various Vedas which was convincing. Hence, he was awarded a bag of Gold by Vallabhadeva. Periazhwar is believed to be an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and the father of Andal, a form of Goddess Lakshmi.
The temple rituals are performed 6 times daily and the 14 days Brahmotsavam celebrations that happen during the Vaigasi month of Tamil calendar, attracts people from various places.
If you are resident or a visitor, of Madurai, you must make time to see Koodal Azhagar and get his divine blessings.