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FAQs


Q1. What are the 3 elements of Buddhist architecture?

 

Buddhism inspired three types of architecture: the stupa, the Buddhist monastery (vihara), and a sepulchral monument (the caitya), a stupa that holds no relics. Buddhist temples are often the center of cultural activities. From a modern viewpoint, temples can be compared to museums, for they contain precious and spectacular art forms, and in fact, are beautiful art forms themselves. Like art museums, they are a combination of architecture, sculpture, painting, and calligraphy.


Q2. What are the 3 major structures of Buddhist architecture?

 

Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls (chaityas, also called chaitya grihas), which later came to be called temples in some places.


Q3. What is Buddhist art and architecture?

 

The Buddhist architecture of every region has its own unique character due to differing cultural and environmental factors. Close in proximity, Ceylon's architecture is similar to India's architecture. Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia also share a similar style, with structures that incorporate the use of wood into their design. Java's stupas resemble those of Tibet, which are made of stone and represent the nine-layered Mandala (symbolic circular figure that represents the universe and the divine cosmology of various religions: used in meditation and rituals). Tibet's large monasteries are typically constructed on hillsides and are similar in style to European architecture in which the buildings are connected to each other, forming a type of street-style arrangement.


Q4. What are the major architectural forms of Buddhist art?


The three key elements of Buddhist architecture are Stupas, Viharas and Chaityas. A stupa refers to a mound-like structure that contains some relic of Buddha or Buddhist monks. Both early Chaityas and Viharas were made by woods and later stone cut Chaityas and Viharas were made. A Chaitya was a rectangular prayer hall with a stupa placed in the centre, the purpose was prayer. The Chaitya was divided into three parts, and had an apsidal ending i.e., a semicircular rear end, the central part of the hall (also called the nave) was separated from the two aisles by two rows of pillars, Chaityas also had polished interior walls, semi-circular roofs and horse-shoe shaped windows called the Chaitya windows. Viharas were the residences of the monks.