Built by the Nayaks in the 1550 and partly by the Marathas, the
majestic Thanjavur palace is huge masonry structure situated near the
Thanjavur temple. This mighty palace has huge halls, spacious
corridors, observation, arsenal towers and a shady courtyard. Once a
grand structure, most of the sections of the palace are in ruins. It
is being renovated now. The palace houses a library, a museum and an
¤ Architecture of the Palace
To enter the palace one should take the way of a large quadrangular
courtyard. The surrounding walls are pierced by big gateways to the
north and east. The courtyard leads to a many-pillared hall. A small
inner courtyard leads to a large one.
There is a building similar to the Vimana on the southern side of the
third quadrangle. It is 190 feet high with eight storeys and is known
as the Goodagopuram. This was the palace watchtower and also the
armoury of the Thanjavur Kings till 1855 A.D.
¤ Highlights of The Palace
The major attractions of the palace are the two Durbar Halls of the
Nayaks and the Mahrattas and the Raja Sarafoji Sarasvati Mahal
Library. The Saraswathi Mahal Library has a wide collection of about
30,433 sanskrit and other vernacular palm leaf manuscripts. There are
almost 6,426 printed volumes, besides a large number of journals. This
library is the result of the three hundred years of effort of by the
Nayak and Mahratta kings.
A tower called the Madamaligai emerges from the palace roof beyond
the Goodagopuram. It has six storeys and is believed that this was
build by Nayak ruler to enable him worship Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam
every mid-day. Earlier, it was many storeys higher, but was destroyed
by lighting. Thus, it had to be repaired and preserved.
The Sangita Mahal or the Music Hall is a miniature of the surviving
court of Thirumalai Nayak's.