The Pudu Mandapa or "New Hall" (Tamil Putu Mantapam) is one of the best-known monuments from the Nayaka period of Tarmlnadu in the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was built around 1630 under the patronage of Tirumala Nayaka, the ruler of Madurai (r. 1623-59), hence an alternative name, "Tirumala Nayaka's Choultry". It was built as a major addition to the Minaksi-Sundaresvara temple complex that dominates the centre of this major Tamil town and Hindu pilgrimage centre. The Pudu Mandapa is well known in the West from the aquatint produced by Thomas and William Daniell and published in 1797 in their Oriental Scenery: Twenty-Four Views in Hindoostan.1 This is only one of the numerous other illustrations by Western and Indian artists and draughtsmen in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century of this single Tamil temple structure. Paintings, drawings and even a bronze model of the Pudu Mandapa are found in the coUections of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the India Office Library in London. A discussion of the Pudu Mandapa and its sculpture will be followed by an analysis of some of these drawings and illustrations.

  • 1. Thomas & William Daniell, Oriental Scenery: Twenty-Four Views in Hindoostan, (London, 1797), volume II no. 18. For a recent illustration see George Michell & Antonio Martinelli India Yesterday and Today: Two hundred years of architectural and topographical heritage in India (Shrewsbury, 1998), p. 161.