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The stupa is the most characteristic
monument of Buddhist India. Originally
stupas were mounds covering the relics
of the Buddha or his followers. In its
earliest stages Buddhist art didn't
represent the Buddha directly. Instead,
his presence was alluded to through
symbols such as the bo tree, the wheel
of law or his footprint. The stupa also
became a symbol of the Buddha.
Shanti Stupa of Ladakh is located on the hilltop at Changspa. It
can be reached quite easily from the Fort Road. The Stupa was
constructed by a Japanese Buddhist organization, known as
'The Japanese for World Peace'. The aim behind the
construction of the stupa was to commemorate 2500 years of
Buddhism and to promote World Peace. His Holiness, the Dalai
Lama inaugurated the Shanti Stupa in the year 1985.
In a larger sense the stupa is also a
cosmic symbol. Its hemispherical shape
represents the world egg. Stupas
commonly rest on a square pedestal and
are carefully aligned with the four
cardinal points of the compass.
Stupas are large-scale memorials built in
particularly holy places. Generally they
enshrine relics of some sort.
As a building type the stupa is the
forerunner of the pagoda. However, the
stupa has also come to be known, on a
smaller scale, as the reliquary itself and
can be made of crystal, gold, silver or
other precious metals.
Stupa in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Great Stupa, 3rd Century BCE, Sanchi, India. BUDDHISM
Carved decoration of the Northern gateway
to the Great Stupa of Sanchi
A torii is a traditional Japanese gate commonly found at
the entry to a Shinto shrine, although it can be found at
Buddhist temples as well. It has two upright supports
and two crossbars on the top, and is frequently painted
vermilion. Some torii have tablets with writing mounted
between the crossbars. Traditionally, torii are made of
wood or stone, but makers have started to use steel and
even stainless steel. Torii mark the transition from the
sacred world to the normal, profane world.
is the general term in the English language for
a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in
China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other
parts of Asia. Most pagodas were built to have
a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,
and were often located in or near temples.
This term may refer to other religious
structures in some countries.
The pagoda's original purpose was to house
relics and sacred writings.
A PAGODA in Japan.
In May of 2007, hundreds of Buddhist monks
gathered in Changzhou, China, to celebrate
the opening of what local officials say is the
world's tallest pagoda. The towering structure
stands nearly 505 feet (154 meters) tall—
reaching 50 feet (15 meters) higher than
Egypt's Great Pyramid of Giza.
The wooden tower was recently added to the
ancient Tianning Temple, a Buddhist complex
dating back to China's Tang Dynasty, which
lasted from A.D. 618 to 907. The temple has
been destroyed and rebuilt in the same spot
five times.