Nayaka Architecture (early 16th century to the 1730s):
The Dravidian style of architecture assumed its final form under the Nayaka rulers and lasted almost until the modern times. Tirumalai Nayak, who ruled from 1623-1659 A.D., was the greatest of the Nayak rulers, during whose reign some of the finest works of art were created. The style developed by these rulers is described as the ‘Madura style’, which is most evident in the 17th century ‘Meenakshi Temple’ at Madurai.
The Meenakshi Temple is a double temple, as it has two separate sanctuaries, one dedicated to ‘Sundareshwara’ (Shiva) and the other to his consort ‘Meenakshi’ (Parvati). It has the tallest ‘gopuram’ in the world. The temple forms a parallelogram and has eleven ‘gopurams’, one thousand-pillared hall, ‘pool of lilies’ and the ‘musical pillars’. The total number of pillars in the temple exceeds two thousand. The construction of ‘gopurams’ reached its maturity during the Nayaka period. The temples at Srirangam, Jambukesvara, Rameshwaram and Chidambaram are other notable examples of the Nayaka architecture.