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 view shows the back of the Elephant Stables which are situated in the royal centre and are built of solid masonry decorated in stucco. They consist of a group of eleven imposing square chambers roofed with domes and side vaults arranged around the double-storey pavilion in the middle. Many features display the influence of Islamic architecture, such as the curved openings, the recessed arches on the outer elevations and the domes. Lyon's gives the following description of this photograph: 'In front, are the elephants' stables, while in the background may be seen the endless succession of rocks which constitute the peculiar feature of this part of the country, and make it easily intelligible how difficult an invading force must have found it, to conquer a country where nature has done so much to help the defenders.'