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A Chorten is an integral part of Buddhism and also an object of reverence. In its original form, the Chorten is a monumental stone or mudbrick structure. It is also known as Stupas, though they are more elaborate structures and are found in places more important to Buddhism.These hemispherical burial mounds entombed the remains of holy men and could also mark the sites of important events in the lives of these figures.  This burial tradition was transported throughout Asia and was adapted in Tibet in the form of the Chorten, and in China, Korea, and Japan in the form of the pagoda,a word more familiar to most western ears.

Structurally, chorten generally follow a set form, composed of five main parts: a base (the bumpa), a domed cylinder, thirteen round disks, a lotus umbrella, and a crescent moon holding a sun. These sections represent the five elements: earth, water, fire, wind, and space respectively. The thirteen round discs are also said to symbolize the stepstowards enlightenment encompassing The Eightfold Path, TheFour Noble Truths, and enlightenment itself. 

Chortens are venerated by circumambulation,a form of worship in which Buddhists walk around the object being celebrated. The act of circumambulation is often accompanied by the chanting of mantras(prayers) and the burning of incense.
The above shot is a set of Chortens in Lamayuru Monastery in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
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Additional Photos by Subho Banerjee (Subhogen) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 411 W: 14 N: 908] (4065)
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