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 from the north of the masonry wall and of the octagonal tower. While its function was as a watchtower, Lyon described it as a '...Harem, of which a portion is here given with one of the curious towers at its angles. The construction of the wall is wedge-shape, the base being very broad and tapering at the top to a sharp edge, while the centre is left hollow. The stones are beautifully fitted to each other, and put together without mortar or cement.'