Photograph of the ruins of Tirumala Nayaka's palace and fort complex at Alagarkoil, Tamil Nadu, taken by a photographer of the Archaeological Survey of India around 1899-1900. Alagarkoil is situated 20 kms north of Madurai at the foot of Solaimalai hill. It is the site of the famous Alagar Perumal temple dedicated to Vishnu which dates back to the Pandya dynasty (8th to 14th century), with some 17th century additions from Madurai's Nayaka period. Here Vishnu takes the form of the goddess Minakshi's brother and is brought in procession from Alagarkoil to Madurai annually to take part in Minakshi's marriage rites when he gives away his sister to Sundareshvara (Shiva). With the decline of the Vijayanagara empire of the South in the 16th century, the Nayakas, (or governors of Madurai under the empire), established independent rule at Madurai. The most able of the Nayaka rulers was Tirumala Nayaka, ruled 1623-59, who is credited with many structures from what is seen as a golden age for Madurai.