Thirumalai Naick Palace - in later days

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Naick History   Palace   Festivals   Natakasala   Thief Entered   Rajarajeshwari Temple   Rangavilasa   Naubatkhana
In the Later Days   Archaeological Museum   Sound and Light Show   Opening Timings   Contact
In the Later Days

Before the palace was acquired by the British the palace was in absolute ruin. It was utilised as barracks, and a part of the palace was occupied then by a paper factory worked by convict labour. In 1837 Mr.Black Burne, then collector of Madurai reported that it was used as a handloom weaving factory by the local weavers, and obtained leave to demolish the great walls which surrounded it and threatened to collapse. In 1857 it was stated that almost every part of the building was so cracked as to be dangerous and that the only really safe part of it was the inner cloister. The courts of the District Judge, Sub-Judge, Sadr Admin and Munsif were, however, held in it and the Zilla School occupied the north cast corner of the cloisters. The amount required to restore the palace was estimated to two lakhs. In 1858 heavy rain did much damage and brought down the west wall of the King's bed-chamber and the Judge reported that portions of the building fell so fruequently that approach to his court was positively dangerous and that the Sub-Judge and Munsif had to move elsewhere.

Thanks to Napier: Lord Napier in 1858, the then Governor of Madras wrote an emphatic minute on the necessity of restoring ancient ruins in general and this palace in particular. Mr.Chisholm, The Government Architect was sent down to report on the possibility of saving what remained of the palace. His report led the Government to decide to repair the palace to render it suitable for the Revenue Judicial and Municipal offices of the town and a first instalment of Rs.10,000 for this purpose was entered in the budget of the year 1870-71. There after annual allotments were made for continuing the work.

Lord Napier took greatest interest in repairing the palace and he visited personally in 1871, and recorded an elaborate minute regarding the officer which were to be located in it. By 1882, Rs.2,13,000 had been spent, iron ties had been inserted to hold the structure together. The ruined portions had been restored on the original lines and the present entrance, in the east side of the great court-yard was made. This entrance had been cut through the solid brick work in comparitively recent times. Mr. Chisholm found evidence to show that the original opening had been on the west behind the three great domes.

Various public offices were then located in the restored portions, and to accommodate them the cloisters were partitioned off into sets of rooms with ugly dwarf walls which quite spoilt their appearance. The next year a committee of local officers settled the best methods of distributing the remaining available space. By 1886, a sum of Rs.5,31,000 had been spent on and the collector's office moved into it. The District Court continued to function in the building till 1970, when they were shifted to the new building.



Archaeological Museum



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