Pagodas are multi-story stone or brick structures with overhanging roofs that curve up like a cornice into sharp, pointed points. These pagodas were frequently erected in the courtyard of a traditional Buddhist temple and had a religious role, particularly in India, by storing precious relics. They also served as watchtowers, prisons, libraries, and places of worship.
The word "pagoda" comes from the Sanskrit words paaga meaning "to build" and dodha meaning "to burn." Thus, a pagoda is a burnt building.
They are common in Asia, especially in China, Japan, and India but also in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Although they are found in many countries, they are more commonly seen in China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, South Korea, Cuba, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Central America, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa.
There are several types of pagodas: monastic, ceremonial, reading, guard, hermit, householder, and hybrid.
A pagoda is an Asian temple with an upward curving roof composed of bricks, stone, or wood. It was originally erected as a stupa at Viharas to honor Gautam Buddha. However, over time they transformed into churches.
Pagodas can be as small as a chapel or as large as a cathedral. They usually contain a number of rooms for religious ceremonies or teaching activities. The oldest known pagoda in China was built in 293 AD and it's made from brick and stone. In India, pagodas have been constructed since the 5th century AD. The most famous Indian pagoda is the Sanchi Stupa which is divided into three parts: base, body, and top. It has survived civil wars, earthquakes, and looting by both Muslims and Europeans. The tallest pagoda in the world is Shinmoedono Pagoda which is 37 meters high.
Other names for pagoda include tiandi, tian dai, tin wui, thien da, and thieng ba. "Tin" refers to the material it is made from while "wui" means "curved".
A pagoda is an Asian temple that typically consists of a pyramidal structure with an upward sloping roof. It served as a safe haven for Buddhist books and Buddha sculptures. Today, they are used for worship, as monuments, or as guides to help travelers find their way.
Buddhist temples often have many levels including attics. The upper rooms are used for religious ceremonies or as dormitories for monks. Downstairs rooms are usually devoted to teaching activities, such as classes on Buddhism's philosophical tenets or how to write prayers.
The walls inside a pagoda are usually covered in sacred images known as "mandala." These paintings show the story of creation and the afterlife, and help believers understand suffering and attain enlightenment.
Pagodas were first introduced to China from India during the Tang dynasty (618-907). They were then brought over by Japanese traders and eventually adopted into Chinese culture as part of Japan's influence over Asia.
Today, there are almost 1,000 Buddhist temples in China. They are mostly located in rural areas where people can't afford to build their own houses. Pagodas are important because they allow priests to hold services even though they live alone.
A pagoda is a tiered structure with numerous eaves that is popular in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. Most pagodas were created for religious purposes, most generally Buddhist but occasionally Taoist, and were frequently placed in or near viharas. Today, they serve as landmarks, reminders, and symbols of Buddhism and of past heroes.
In China, India, and elsewhere, many buildings include a tower, usually called an "observation tower" or "lookout tower", located at their front entrance. This may be because such towers afford good views, or to protect occupants from attack. They are also common in residential areas, especially along streets with large number of pedestrians. The term "pagoda-style building" has become generic for any tall building in Asia.
Pagodas are often depicted in mythology, art, and literature, particularly among Buddhists. They appear in various shapes and sizes and are commonly made of wood, but some recent examples use concrete or steel. Pagodas are found both inside and outside of temples. They are important in Buddhist rituals and ceremonies, often as relics stores for bones and teeth of masters or saints.
About 27,000 pagodas are believed to exist around the world. Of these, 7500 are in China, where they date back over 1000 years. In Japan, there are about 1500 while in India there are about 500.