Photograph of the ruins at Vijayanagara from the 'Photographs to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern Indian' collection taken by Edmund David Lyon in c. 1868. Vijayanagara, the City of Victory, was the most powerful Hindu kingdom in Southern India from 1336 until the defeat by the Muslim armies in 1565. It was built on the bank of the Tungabhadra River and is surrounded by granite hills. The ruins of this vast royal city incorporate distinct zones and are divided into two main groups, the sacred centre and the royal centre. The royal centre was the residential area of the royal household and included zones associated with the ceremonial, administrative and military functions of the rulers. This is a general view of the south-facing façade, an elevated arcade of cusped arches overlooking open ground. The centre passage of the building leads to an inner court that is completely surrounded by colonnades on all four sides. The function of this building is not known with certainty; there appears to be little solid evidence to support Lyon's claim that it was the Hall of Justice.