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Stupas are funeral mounds built in honor of an enlightened person, or saint, or a great teacher. This hemispherical dome or mound is a good example of Buddhist art. The stupas are of great significance since they house the relics related to Buddhism. The stupa is made of stone. After the death of the saint, relics are collected and kept in a casket (a smaller chamber) in the center of the base of the stupa. The relief carvings of the stupa illustrate the life and teachings of Buddha.

Many stupas do not contain actual relics, and so the term has come to be applied to any Buddhist shrine or monument having similar form and connotation.

The Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh is an excellent example of stupa art in India.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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