Nayak Rule in Madurai

Nayak Rule in Madurai began after the collapse of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1565. The Nayaks were originally the Governors of Madurai. To facilitate the smooth running of the empire, the Vijayanagar Rulers had appointed Governors for its different territories. Once the Vijjayanagar Empire began to disintegrate, the Nayaks of Madurai proclaimed themselves as rulers.

Madurai began to flourish under the Nayaks. Thirumalai Nayak was the most prominent amongst the Nayak rulers. He is credited with the construction of a number of structures in around the city of Madurai. Some of the architectural marvels built by him are the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, the Raja Gopuram (Main Tower) and Puthu Mandapam (The New mansion) of the Meenakshi temple. However, following the death of Thirumalai Nayak in 1569, the Nayak Dynasty started disintegrating. His successors were not as efficient as he was and slowly the neighboring states started invading. Chikka Deva Raya of Mysore, The Maratha ruler Shivaji Bhonsle and the Muslim rulers from north invaded Madurai, creating chaos and spreading panic among the people.

In this time of chaos, Rani Mangammal held forte and fought against the invaders. She was able to rule for around two decades, staving off attacks from the invading armies. Her courage and determination is been a source of inspiration for the people of Madurai even today.

Last Updated on 9/15/2011