Key Gompa (also spelled Key, Kye or Kee) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,116 metres (13,504 ft.) close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley. It is only a short drive from Kaza town, but its location gives it a distinction from its neighbourhood. Placed on a hillock, it stands apart from rest of the valley, with construction crowding the hill.
It is 800 years old, but most of the buildings are new and there is no visible evidence of its past. The buildings that stand today are made of white washed mud plaster and wood to support the roof. More buildings, built with cement, are coming up in the periphery to accommodate more students as well as tourists. Dalai Lama had given a visit to the monastery some time ago, and the chair where he sat and the bed he slept on have been preserved neatly.
The monastery is spread around a prayer hall where the monks assembled. A few deities of worship, a kitchen and smaller prayer rooms surrounded the prayer hall. An old kitchen built many centuries ago still existed though not used anymore.
We left Kaza for Kibber quite early before dawn. On the way, Ki Monastery at dawn was a mesmerizing place. The grandeur of the precariously placed monastrey atop the hill was astounding. I wonder how and more importantly why, people built the monastrey at such a difficult spot, when there was a wide valley with plenty of space below. But, having said that, I thank the people who did.
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