The stupa (“stupa” is Sanskrit for heap) is an important form of Buddhist architecture, though it predates Buddhism. It is generally considered to be a sepulchral monument—a place of burial or a receptacle for religious objects. At its simplest, a stupa is a dirt burial mound faced with stone.
The Stupa is also known by synonymous names such as Chaithya, Dagaba, Thupa, Seya and Vehera. Stupas designed and constructed in Sri Lanka are the largest brick structures known to the pre-modern world.
Buddhist stupas were originally built to house the earthly remains of the historical Buddha and his associates and are almost invariably found at sites sacred to Buddhism. The concept of a relic was afterward extended to include sacred texts.
The “Fasting Buddha” is another masterpiece from ancient Gandhara that was excavated in Sikri, Pakistan, in the 19th centuryThe sculpture was donated to the Lahore Museum of PakistaN, where it is still displayed.
Strictly speaking, the statue should be called the “Fasting Bodhisattva” or the “Fasting Siddhartha,” since it portrays an event that took place before the Buddha’s enlightenment. On his spiritual quest, Siddhartha Gautama tried many aesthetic practices, including starving himself until he resembled a living skeleton. Eventually, he realized that mental cultivation and insight, not bodily deprivation, would lead to enlightenment.