Q: When I fly into L.A. I see an octagonal orange-roofed pagoda on a hill 20 or so miles east of downtown. What is it?
A: The massive concrete and red granite structure is the Buddhist Memorial Columbarium at Rose Hills in Whittier. Built in 1999 as a joint venture with the nearby Hsi Lai Temple, it rises 100 feet above the Puente Hills and can accommodate the cremains of 22,000 people. “A lot of our expansion,” says cemetery spokesman Bruce Lazenby, “has the Chinese market in mind.” Visit the third-floor balcony (open six days a week) and you can spot downtown L.A. Maybe even LAX.