Welcome to the quirky world of Hampi, where the past comes alive and you get lost in the pages of history. The Vijayanagara Empire, the powerhouse of South India, left a rich heritage that will blow your mind. In fact, it’s so engrossing that you might lose track of time and space!
Now, let’s talk about the Mahanavami Dibba, the mound-like structure that looks like a giant pancake. But don’t let its appearance fool you, this structure has a lot of significance.
The Mahanavami Dibba got its name from the Hindu festival of Dussehra, celebrated for ten days. The ninth day, called Mahanavami, signifies the victory of good over evil. Dibba, on the other hand, means mounds in Kannada. Thus, the Mahanavami Dibba symbolizes the mound-like structure that hosted the festivities during Dussehra. It’s also called Dasara Dibba.
The Dibba witnessed grandeur during the reign of King Krishnadevaraya, who ruled from 1509 to 1529 AD. This period saw the zenith of Hampi’s architectural, literary, and artistic developments. In fact, the Mahanavami Dibba was constructed in 1513 AD to commemorate King Krishnadevaraya’s victory over Udaygiri (present-day Odisha).
The Dibba was the center of attraction inside the Royal Enclosure and witnessed grand activities like army parades, archery contests, sword fights, wrestling, marching of royal animals, and musical concerts. The royalty even used it for religious gatherings during the festival of Dussehra.
The Mahanavami Dibba is awe-inspiring in its architecture. Made of stone, it’s 12 meters high and offers a panoramic view of the Royal Enclosure from the top. The base is made of square granite and comprises three tiers, descending in size towards the top. There are two stairways, one in the front and the other in the back, but beware, they are steep! The walls and sides of the stairs have rich carvings of elephants, soldiers, musicians, kings, armies, dancing girls, and even Chinese embassies that visited Vijayanagara during Krishnadevaraya’s time.
Unfortunately, the Dibba has been reduced to a shattered and ruined structure due to invasions. But thanks to UNESCO, the remnants of this blueprint of the Vijayanagara Empire’s power have been preserved.
Despite its current appearance, the Mahanavami Dibba still attracts tourists and is a must-visit site in Hampi. You can visit it from 6 AM to 6 PM, and there’s no entry fee. Pets are not allowed, but photography and videography are permitted.
The Mahanavami Dibba is a reminder of Hampi’s vivacious past and a testament to the power of the Vijayanagara Empire. So, pack your bags and head to Hampi, where history comes alive, and you get lost in its beauty.