Print from an album of 41 albumen prints by Edmund David Lyon. Srivilliputtur is a small town in Tamil Nadu, famous as the birthplace of one of the Alwar saints, the poetess Andal. There are two temples here, one dedicated to Andal and dating to about the eighth century and one to Lord Vatapatrasayi (a form of Vishnu), which is of an older date. Both are linked by a garden, and the entrance to the Vatapatrasayi temple is crowned by an immense tower or gopuram, one of the tallest in South India. This gopuram has been adopted by the Tamil Nadu Government as its emblem. Lyon's 'Notes to Accompany a Series of Photographs Prepared to Illustrate the Ancient Architecture of Southern India' (Marion & Co., London, 1870), edited by James Fergusson, gives the following description, 'This Gateway, which is considered one of the finest and best proportioned in Southern India...is nearly 200 feet high, the pyramidal part of the tower being of brick and plaster, rises through eleven storeys exclusive of the base and the waggon-shaped roof. It is not only particularly pleasing in form, but elegant in its details, figure sculpture being only sparingly used, and then only where its presence is conducive to the general effect'.