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Little is known about the 108 dagobas that stand like bowling pins on the side of the Qingtong Gorge, near the Yellow River. In the Ming dynasty they were referred to as the "ancient pagodas" (gu ta) and their origin was already a mystery. Today scholars associate them with the Western Xia dynasty because other relics and remains from the Xia culture have been unearthed in the vicinity. Their shape -- like a Buddhist alms bowl -- is similar to that of the classic Tibetan stupa, supporting the accepted belief that Tibetan Buddhism thrived in this area during the Western Xia and Yuan dynasties. Extensive repairs were made to them in 1987, but the dagobas are unusual and worth the visit. On the way, consider stopping at the Najiahu Qingzhensi .