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.