There are three terms for Buddhist religious monuments in Myanmar depend on archeological point of view : stupa, temple and monastery.
Stupa – Zedi in Myanmar language is solid type, which is a relic chamber. Baw Baw gyi Stupa and Be Be Gyi stupa near Pyay are oldest Stupa in Myanmar during the time of Pyu Kingdon between 1st to 9th century. After Pyu decline under Chinese invasion, royal families run away and founded small village PYU KAN at Bagan present time. PYU KAN means land of PYU. They build religious monument at Bagan – Ngakwengadaung which has bulbo shape is the oldest stupa of ancient Bagan.
Ancient Pyu adopted Indian culture and tradition. Ancient Pyu invented Pyu script based on indian old kannada language. Built Buddhist stupas which has strong Indian architecture influence.
Shwedagon, Shwezigon, Ngakwengadaung are stupa in Myanmar.
There are 4 kinds of Stupa or Zedi in Myanmar which is depend on kinds of relic inside :
- Datu Zedi – Relic stupa – enshrined relic of Buddha
- Pribawga Zedi –Object stupa – enshrined garment and other items belong to Lord Buddha and sacred person
- Dhamma Zedi – Commemorative Stupa – enshrined sacred text
- Odeikha Zedi – Symbolic Stupa – enshrine statue of Buddha
There are 2 type of Stupa or Zedi in Myanmar which is depend on where relic was enshrined:
Dolmen type – Relic chamber is over ground
Cite type – Relic chamber is under ground