What is a Votive Stupa?

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What is a Votive Stupa? Blog Image


Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has recently discovered two 1200-year-old miniature votive stupas during landscaping activities near Sarai Tila mound on the premises of ‘Nalanda Mahavihara’, a world heritage site in Nalanda district.

About Votive stupa

  • These are forms of the stupas, with their distinctive domelike drum, originating in eight cylindrical structures in which the Buddha's relics were placed after his death.
  • The stupa shape has become associated with the Buddhist goal of release from the cycles of suffering and rebirth. 
  • In addition to the drum, this stupa has a tiered base and is crowned with a series of stylized umbrellas that symbolize royalty and divine status. 
  • The larger ones at Bodhgaya were probably given by visiting kings, while smaller stupas such as this one were offered by monks and lay pilgrims.
  •  Beginning in the 7th century CE in India, small miniature terracotta stupas became popular as votive offerings.

What is a stupa?

  • It is a Buddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons.


Q1) Who established the Nalanda University?

Nalanda University was established by the Kumaragupta in the 5th century AD.

Source: 1200-year-old miniature stupas found in the Nalanda district.