This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.
In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Sceptre festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival.
He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places.
During 19th century, Lord Napier, governor of Madras between 1866 and 1872 made several renovation works. Today, only the spacious rectangular courtyard called the swarga Vilasam and a few adjoining biuldings survive, their awesome scale evoking the grandeur of a vanished era. The courtyard measures 3,900 sq.m and is surrounded by massive circular pillars. To its west lies the Throne Chamber, a vast room with a raised, octagonal dome. This room leads to the Dance Hall. Then the palace was utilized to house some officials of the judiciary and district administration. After independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamilnadu Archaeological Department. It can be visited from 9a.m to 5 p.m on payment of the entrance fee
From the middle of the 16th century, right up to the eighth decade of the 18th century. the city retained its glory as the principal seat of the Nayakas. Although Vishwanatha Nayaka, the first and greatest of a long line of distinguished rulers, is credited with having laid the foundations of a well planned and well fortified city. Tirumala Nayaka, who ascended to throne in 1623 A.D., and ruled over Madurai for 36 years can be said to have made the largest single contribution towards the enhancement of the beauty and splendour of the town by magnificent edifices and monuments.
A little away from the temple precincts in the town is the ruins of Palace of Tirumala Nayaka constructed during his reign (1623-1645 A.D.). It contains beautiful domes and arches. One of the domes stands without the support of girder -an architectural feat of everlasting wonder. They must have been an extravagance of stucco in its heyday.
Tirumala Nayaka was undoubtedly the greatest of the Nayaka rulers. The Nayakas of Madurai like those of Thanjavur and gingee ruled South India as the Governors of Vijayanagar emperors and gradually became independent rulers as the empire began to decline and breakup, though they did not like to call themselves as kings due probably to their reverence to the dynasty