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. The Lotus Mahal is a two storeyed pleasure pavilion situated in the zone of the royal performance. It is built in a mixed style with Hindu and Muslim architectural features. The two storeys have openings with lobed and recessed arches with decoration in plasterwork, supporting a series of vaults and domes. The stepped pyramidal roof are capped with temple-like finials.