The Key Monastery or the Key Gompa (Gompa is Tibetan for Buddhist temple or monastery) is the biggest monastery in the Spiti valley and is home to 350 monks who receive their religious education here. This renowned monastery is near the magnificent Spiti River and is situated atop a hill at an altitude of 4,166 meters above the sea level.
Enjoy being surrounded by total serenity as you explore the hallowed hallways of Key Monastery. There’s something truly moving about being in such a spiritual place, and you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more time here, with every visit!
The monastery is said to be founded by Dromtom (Brom-ston 1008-1064 C.E) in the 11th century. He was a pupil of the great teacher Atisha Dipankar. The monastery was initially established in Rangrik (known as the Kadampa Monastery) and was later shifted to the present site as it was destroyed in the 14th century. It is believed to be more than a thousand years old and celebrated it’s millennium in the year 2000 in the presence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
The monastery is a demonstration of the Psada style of architecture and rises in terraces. Facing destruction many times, the architecture of this monastery saw a somewhat haphazard growth. New parts keep getting added and yet, in spite of their seeming randomness, the monastery looks captivatingly beautiful. There are a number of prayer rooms that are connected by passages and difficult staircases, and you’ll have a great time exploring them.
There are many beautiful paintings that adorn the walls along with precious manuscripts, stucco images and wind instruments. A few rooms also showcase the weapons that might have been used to defend the monastery against ancient attackers.
The best time to visit is during the months of June to October since the Rohtang Pass closes after the month of October due to snowfall. The weather during these months is cold, while still being pleasant and is enjoyable. One can witness the Cham Festival also if the visit is planned around July.
Tourists who love extremely cold weather can visit the monastery via the Shimla-Kalpa –Tabo-Kaza route as it is absolutely stunning, and covered in a blanket of snow during the winter.
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