Pagodas are teared towers with multiple eaves. They are common in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Nepal and other parts of Asia. The modern pagoda is an evolution of the Ancient Indian stupa.
Stupas are mound-like structures containing Buddhist relics, usually the remains of a Buddha or saint.
Pagodas are often associated with religion in Asia. For instance, some are used in Taoist houses of worship, and in Buddhism they are often located near temples. The stupa is the earliest and architecturally, the most significant Buddhist expression.
Pagodas are generally made of wood, brick, or stone, and can be as tall as fifteen stories high, each with its own upcurved, overhanging roof. They are built around staircases and are designed in three sections.
The structure of the stupa changes by region. The details and artistic influence of each specific district is incorporated into the architectural design of the tower. For instance, Chinese pagodas include Chinese iconography into their designs.
Some Famous Pagodas:
1. 'The Phra Pathom Chedi' is located in the town of Nakhon Pathom, Thailand and, at 127 metres, is the tallest stupa in the world.
2. 'The One Pillar Temple' is located in Vietnam's capital Hanoi, and is thought to be one of the countries two most iconic temples.
3. 'To-ji' is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto Japan. It's previous function was to provide protection for the nation, which is why it's name literally meant "The Temple for the Defense of the Nation by Means of the King of Doctrines."
4. 'The Schwedagon Pagoda' is the most sacred Buddhist stupa for the Burmese people as it holds the relics of the past four Buddhas. This Golden Pagoda is 98 metres and dominates the skyline of Yangon.
5. 'Pha That Luang' is located in Vientiane and, architecturally, includes many references to Lao culture and identity. As a result it has become a central symbol of Lao nationalism.
Today, many people all over the world have pagodas in their gardens. Some take the structure of a gazebo and are big enough for people to sit in and have lunch. Others are small and act as decoration. They are a nice touch and add a creative element to basic landscaping. However, there is really nothing that compares to standing before a massive monument that is at the centre of a nation's culture. Pagodas in Asia have been highly invested in and their exquisite architecture is proof of that.