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. Originally this platform must have been a gorgeously painted and decorated pillared hall or pavilion of several storeys.
This massive platform rises to a height of 12m and is built in 3 diminishing tiers.From a distance this looks like an ordinary elevated square stage. As you go close, the details emerge. The whole structure is made as a giant square structure in three layers.
There are mainly two stairways to reach the top. The front one (east facing) is highly decorated on either sides with carvings of elephants, horses and a host of other things. On the top there is nothing special to see except the great views of the campus around it. At the back of the platform a twin staircase is located. Probably this was used as a service staircase during the ceremonies.
The sides of this three layered platform is basically fluted design with chains of sculptures (largely of elephants one behind the other). The most celebrated of the carvings are of the panels at the sidewall in the bottom portion. These dexterously carved sculptures and ornamentations depict any thing from the royal ceremony to the city life to the erstwhile foreign envoys to the kingdom.
Also any things from the Portuguese to Arabic to Chinese connections are visible. Probably this was made as a photo gallery for the benefit of the foreign envoys who had been visiting the capital. They could get the picture of the pompous celebrations held annually at the capital through thesis depictions. King Krishnadevaraya constructed this in commemoration on the victory over Udaygiri (now in Orissa). Archeologists believe that this platform had undergone systematic enhancements by successive kings came into power. The greenish schist stone additions in the front portions stands out from the rest and vouch this theory. Owing to the nature of the stone, these carvings here are fine and better finished.
The king used this platform to watch the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical performances and also the most important Navarathri celebrations, the nine day-nine night state festival. And this was the annual occasion the governors of various provinces under the king visited the capital to pledge their loyalty to the king’s dominion. For the king it was an event to demonstrate the imperial pomp and power at his disposal. Our Guide told us that there’s a close replication and continuation of these customs in Mysore palace.