Chortens, also known as Stupas, are religious structures that dominate the Bhutanese landscape, predominantly on mountain tops, hills and mountain passes, crossroads and along the rivers. Often known as burial mounds, chortens are built in memory of eminent lamas and kings or to pin down evil spirits. They are also built to protect a place or a region against evil spirits that are potentially dangerous, such as landslides and accident prone areas. The term chorten literally means ‘receptacle’ of worship or offering. The primary architectural characteristics of most chortens are based on five symbolic elements – the square or rectangular base symbolizes the earth; the half-spherical dome symbolizes water; the conical or pyramidal spire represents fire; the crescent moon and the sun on top symbolize air, and a vertical spike symbolizes the sacred light of the Buddha. Chortens are sometimes also built in memory of an individual; to commemorate the visit of an enlightened sage; or to house sacred books or the relics and bodies of great lamas and saints.