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Dagobas. Aka, Stupas

Prayer flags cover the sun at the Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba in Sri Lanka
Prayer flags cover the sun at the Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, a dagoba – also known as a stupa – is a common religious structure.

Every town has at least one. They can be a few inches high or rise above the tallest trees in the forest.

No matter where one goes in Sri Lanka, it is impossible to miss these white domed structures that pepper the landscape.

Yoda. You seek, Yoda! – I can’t hear the word dagoba and not think of the fictional planet that Yoda calls home in the Star Wars movies.

What’s a Dagoba? What’s Inside a Stupa?

Depending on who you ask, the shape either represents the body of Buddha or the five elements: earth is at the bottom, then water, fire, air and nothingness topping it off.

Regardless, all dagobas contain the relics of a sacred person and are there for Buddhists to pray to. Depending on the history of the dagoba, it can also be a pilgrimage spot.

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