Dec 14, 2005

The Rani Mangammal Palace


The Gandhi Museum today...

This photograph of the royal building was taken by Linnaeus Tripe in 1858.(c.British Library) Tripes notes say.."...building situated N.E. of the town of Madura. It now forms the residence of the Judge of the station. It is supposed to have been built for the purpose of witnessing fights between human beings and wild animals . The style of the architecture of the principal room, a circular apartment, with a vaulted roof, surrounded by a raised gallery, exactly resembles that of parts of the Palace..."The distinctive features of the building have now been to a great extent lost, owing to the adaptation of the building to an European residence...


A rare Photo from the album of 40 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon.(c. british library) This view looks across a room, furnished in European style, and towards a vista of cusped arches. At the right stands a European couple - presumably the judge of Madurai and his wife seated at a musical instrument. The judge at Madurai in 1868 was Edward Croft Greenway Thomas In his notes Lyon wrote that the photograph "...represents the interior of a building called the Tuncum, situated outside the town on the opposite side of the river.. It was in 1868 occupied by the Judge of Madura."

Lyon is referring to the building which was once a palace of Rani Mangammal who reigned over Madurai in the second half of the 17th century. It was built in 1670, capable of hosting royal entertainments such as elephant-fights. Taken over by the British, it became the official residence of the District Collectors.

In 1955 the palace and the land of 12 acres were dedicated to Gandhi Smarak Nidhi by the government of Tamilnadu in remembrance of the life and work of father of the nation- Its now the Gandhi Museum.

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