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 Vitthala Temple is one of the greatest monuments of the Vijayanagara period and dates to the 16th century. The complex is set inside a rectangular court surrounded by cloisters, and it is capped with a stepped pyramidal superstructure. The principal feature of the temple is the open mandapa or porch with massive granite piers made of a cluster of colonnettes. The shafts have carved projecting animals with riders and the brackets are elaborate, as can be seen in this photograph.