Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Beautiful Key Monastery, India

Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on picturesque hilltop at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. The monastery has the distinction of being the oldest and the biggest in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh and a religious training centre for Lamas. It is home to around 300 lamas who receive their religious education here.

The monastery is a wonderful example of the monastic architecture that came into prominence during the 14th century because of the Chinese influence. Regular invasions have led to temples built on top of one another. There are low rooms and narrow corridors. Dimly lit passages, difficult staircases and small doors lead to prayer rooms which themselves do not conform to a single design.

The walls of the monastery are decorated with beautiful paintings and murals, thangkas (a painted or embroidered Tibetan banner), valuable manuscripts, stucco images, and unique wind instruments. There is also a collection of weapons which were probably used to defend the monastery from the attackers. The wind instruments are still put to use during the enaction of Chham in summers.

The monastery is around 12 km north of Kaza and can be reached by covering a distance of 210 km from Manali to Kaza. From there daily buses takes you to the Kye Monastery.















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