Nihar4india > Key Monastery, Kaza (Himachal Pradesh)
E. Key Monestary-1

Key Monastery, Kaza (Himachal Pradesh)

Key Monastery (Gompa) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on a picturesque hilltop at an altitude of 4,166 meters above sea level, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, 222 km. from Manali. 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 center for Lamas. It is home to around 300lamas who receive their religious education here.

Key Gompa is said to have been founded by Dromtön (Brom-ston, 1008-1064 CE), a pupil of the famous teacher, Atisha, in the 11th century. This may, however, refer to a now destroyed Kadampa monastery at the nearby village of Rangrik, which was probably destroyed in the 14th century when the Sakya sect rose to power with Mongol assistance. Nevertheless, it is believed that the monastery is at least a thousand years old.

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 instrumentsare still put to use during the inaction of Chham in summers.

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