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Mahanavami Dibba

The massive stone basement called Mahanavami Dibba, also called as Dasara Dibba played a prominent part during the celebrations of the nine-day Navaratri festival. Domingo Paes states that it was erected after Krishna Deva Raya's victorious campaign in Orissa. The monument is also known as the Throne platform or as Paes called it, the House of Victory. Originally this platform must have been a gorgeously painted and decorated pillared hall or pavilion of several storeys.

Contemporary records refer to the beautiful superstructures on the Mahanavami Dibba and the other platforms, but of these, there is no trace in existence. The extant remains consist of a massive square granite faced base in three diminishing tiers, the lowest being 40 metre square and the topmost 24 metre square. The structure faces north. The walls of the tiers are covered with rows of boldly carved horizontal friezes of horses, elephants, warriors, dancers, musicians, etc. Parts of the western side are faced with dark green chlorite with sculptures of subsequent casing over the earlier granite friezes. Owing to the nature of the stone, these carvings here are fine and better finished.

The Dibba is about 12 metres high up to the floor of the topmost platform. On the west side are the steps. It was from this side that the king ascended the platform during the festivities connected with the Dasara. On the east side is a small chamber projecting from the platform. Access to the chamber is by means of two flights of steps on the north and south located on the floor of the platform itself. The walls of this chamber contain many friezes and panels including figures of animals and clowns. A group of people here with plaited hair, conical caps and swords represents probably the members of a Chinese embassy sent to the Vijayanagara court during Krisna Deva Raya's rule. Some of the carvings in the Dibba depict foreign representatives, Arab horse dealers and exotic animals.

On the ground opposite Mahanavami Dibba, religious functions connected with the festivities were held. It was here that the state horses and state elephants and other royal paraphernalia were offered for worship by the king, the royal maids and the priests. The intervening space was filled with many decorated pavilions and platforms erected for the occasion by the chiefs and captains. Near this place, a large stone trough 12.5 metres long cut out of a single block of granite was found.

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