Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian subcontinent.
Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries
(viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas
), and shrines or prayer halls, which later came to be called temples
in some places.
The initial function of a stupa
was the veneration and safe-guarding of the relics of Gautama Buddha. The earliest archaeologically known example of a stupa is the relic stupa located in Vaishali, .