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Stupa III and its single gateway, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh state, India—Holle Bildarchiv
Monument erected in memory of the Buddha or a Buddhist saint, often marking a sacred spot, commemorating an event, or housing a relic. Stupas are architectural symbols of the Buddha's death. A simple stupa may consist of a circular earthenware base supporting a massive solid dome from which projects an umbrella, symbolizing protection. This basic design is the inspiration for other types of Buddhist monuments, including pagodas, seen throughout Asia. Worship consists of walking clockwise around a stupa. Many important stupas have become places of pilgrimage.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on stupa, visit Britannica.com.