The Mahanavami Platform (or Dibba) is one of the more unusual buildings in the Royal Centre of Hampi. Located to the northeast of the Royal enclosure, it’s a pyramidal three tiered stone platform built in granite and encased in sculptured stone, rising to a height of 8m.
Each tier of the platform has sculptured moldings, the lower tier being the most impressive with friezes all around depicting cultural and courtly activities of the time; hunting, performances of music and dance, wrestling matches, processions of soldiers, horses, elephants, and even camels. The carvings are superb, if a little weathered. You get a real sense of motion in many of the scenes as if they’re about to come alive in some sci-fi movie.
There’s some uncertainty as to what the purpose of this platform was. Abdur Razak and Domingo Paes, who visited Vijayanagara in 1520 and 1443 respectively, both made references to the use of a platform by the Royal family for important festivals such as Mahanavami. So it’s reasonably safe to assume that this is the monument they’re talking about.
I arrived at the platform in the middle of the day, it was unbearably hot (being April), and the light for photography was not good. To see the carvings at their best it would be better to visit the platform in the early morning or late evening, but then the same applies to almost all the monuments of Hampi, and there isn’t time to do all of that.
The more I see of Hampi, the longer I feel compelled to stay. There’s something about the whole site, it’s monuments, the landscape, it’s a very special place and an unforgettable experience.
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