A stupa, literally meaning “heap," is a mound-like structure designed to encase Buddhist relics and other holy objects.
Every stupa contains a treasury filled with various objects.
The Tree of Life, a wooden pole covered with gems and mantras, is an important element of every stupa.
There are five types of stupas: Relic stupas, in which the relics of Buddha and other religious persons are buried; Object stupas, in which the objects belonging to Buddha or his disciples are buried; Commemorative stupas, built to commemorate events in the life of Buddha and his disciples; Symbolic stupas, built to symbolize various aspects of Buddhist theology, and; Votive stupas, constructed to commemorate visits or gain spiritual benefits In the Buddhist religion, it is believed that a stupa brings enlightenment to the one who builds and owns it.
In addition, the stupa is a place of worship.
A stupa is a traditional Buddhist monument that houses relics associated with the Buddha.
The Sri Lankan stupa is characterized by its vahalkada, or frontispiece: a structure, often ornately carved, joining the stupa and often using cardinal directions as a decorative flourish.
One of the most famous stupas in Sri Lanka is the Jetavanaramaya stupa, which was built during the 3rd and 4th centuries CE in the sacred city of Anuradhapura and is believed to house a part of a sash of the Buddha.
Built from baked bricks bound with limestone, sand, and clay, and coated with lime plaster, this stupa stands at 400 feet and was the tallest stupa in the ancient world.
Although multiple story towers such as guard towers and residential apartments existed in previous periods, during this period the distinct Chinese pagoda tower (used for storing Buddhist scriptures) evolved from the stupa, the latter originating from Buddhist traditions of protecting sutras in ancient India.
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