Photograph of a carved pillar in the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex in Tamil Nadu from the 'Photographs to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern Indian' collection, taken by Edmund David Lyon in c. 1868. This complex contains two main shrines; one dedicated to Shiva and one to his consort Minakshi, an ancient local divinity. Each shrine is set within its own walled complex containing several subsidiary shrines, mandapams (assembly halls) and artficial pools. The construction of this temple-town was made possible by the wealth and power of Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659). He was the most prolific builder of a long line of Nayaka kings, a dynasty who ruled a large portion of Tamil country in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Viravasantha Rayan is situated in front of the 1000-pillar portico and consists of a long hall with piers carved with yalis and portrait sculptures of the Nayaka rulers. This view is of one of the elaborately carved pillars.