An Intro to Pagodas

A signature of Asian architecture, the pagoda is a tower structure characterized by tiered levels of equal or slowly-declining width. And while the tradition of the pagoda structure seems to have originated in China, it is actually an extension of the stupa – an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the cosmic mountain said to represent the structure of the universe in Hindu-Buddhist cosmology.

In the many centuries since its beginnings, the stupa has evolved into a number of forms as Indian civilization and Buddhist religion have spread throughout other regions in Asia. The prang of Khmer and Thai architecture, the candi of Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as the pagoda which spread from China into Japanese and Korean architecture are all regional variations on the concept of the stupa.

There are not an abundant amount of religious sites in the central Chinese city of Chongqing, however, not all modern pagodas take the form of religious towers anymore. Instead, many of their aspects have been moved into architecture for architecture’s sake. And for those willing to look, you can still find a number of both traditional and more modern incarnations of pagodas.

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