“This building stands on pillars shaped like elephants and with other figures, and all open in front, and they go up to it by staircases of stones around it; underneath, is a terrace paved with very good flagstones, where stand some of the people looking at the feast. This house is called the House of Victory as it was made when the king came back from the war against Oriya (Orissa)"
- Eyewitness account of the Mahanamavi festival by Domingo Pages on 12 September 1520
Today all that remains is the majestic platform, it’s built over a period of time. At the peak of its splendor, a seven storied building stood atop the platform and was used by Raja Krishnadevaraya to inspect his army.
The walls of the platform have been prodigiously carved. Though the carvings are not of the highest quality, it is worth more than one circumambulation. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Here is a scene that shows a royal patron being trampled by an elephant gone wild. This must have been a very important event at the time as this scene has been repeated about 22 times on multiple locations in Hampi. Then there is a scene that shows an elephant in a royal procession being attacked by a tiger. I have always wondered is the two are connected. Is that why the elephant turned violent?
The first time I saw this hunting scene, I was shocked to discover a rather unambiguous Coptic cross. After all the missionaries were supposed to be a few centuries away from landing in India! Alas, before I could start hyperventilating, having discovered such an enormous achronologicity, I was told that the symbol stood for water. And lo, the very next day, I found a small water hole outside the Vitthala temple, shaped like a cross.
Ala-ud-din Khilji forever changed the landscape of war after he introduced horses in his invasion of 1920.
The rulers of Vijayanagar maintained relationships with European and Turkish traders for a constant supply of good horses. Krishnadevaraya held important harbors in Malabar (Mumbai) to keep an eye on the horse trade. The following scene shows the Turkish horse traders in their pointed hats