What is a "Chedi" or "Stupa"?

What is a Chedi? (Stupa)

Nearly every temple in Laos has an unusual stone pyramid-like structure. This is called a chedi (also known as a "stupa).

A chedi is a mound-shaped monument that is built around an important Buddhist relic. It's the focal point of worship at a Buddhist temple, and a site of veneration.

laotian buddhist chedi at temple luang prabang
an example of a Lao-style Buddhist chedi

What is a Buddhist holy relic?

A Buddhist holy relic could be anything related to the Buddha or a powerful or holy monk. Generally, a relic refers to a bone or hair from a holy person. The most powerful relics are believed to be those that are bones or hairs from the Buddha himself.

In Lao Buddhism, it is believed that holy relics can offer blessings and protection to those who visit and pray at the chedis.

A few famous chedis in Luang Prabang