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stupa
CATEGORY: structure; artifact
DEFINITION: A Buddhist monument consisting of a circular or hemispherical mound with a domelike casing of stone, often tiled, and intended to contain relics of the Buddha or of a Buddhist saint. Existing in China, Japan, Korea, India, Java, and Southeast Asia, stupas are often the focus of a monastery. They are surrounded by a decorative railing showing the Buddha's life and mythological figures. The Mauryan emperor Asoka is said to have built 84,000 stupas, including the most famous at Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh, c 2nd century BC). Hindus of the Jainist sect built stupas commemorating saints.

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