The Lahaul and Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh is a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrimage. There are a number of Buddhist shrines in this Himalayan region. The Kye Monastery is one such gompa located in the remote valley of Spiti.
This thousand year old monastery is the largest of its kind here. It is among the most visited Buddhist centers in Himachal Pradesh. Kye Monastery houses a rare collection of Buddhist paintings and Tibetan art. Being a prominent Tibetan refuge and learning center, it is home to 300 lamas.
The cool interiors of the monastery impress visitors. Since this monastery also acted as a fort, there was no definite plan of construction. This fort-monastery with its long corridors reflects the Pasada style of architecture. It stands as an outstanding example of unique monastic architecture that developed under the Chinese influence. For tourists, the Thangka paintings, Buddhist relics and art are of great interest. The library has important manuscripts and several sacred texts. You can visit the Du-Khang or assembly chamber to have a look at the exquisite paintings.
How to reach Kye Monastery
There are various gateways to the Kye Monastery. You can arrive at Shimla by air, road or train from Kullu Manali, Delhi and other parts of the state. You can hire a taxi and drive to Kaza in the Lahaul and Spiti district. Kaza town is around 12 km from this monastery. There is another route through Kyelong via the Rohtang Pass. Kaza also remains accessible from the Kunzum Pass.
Around the Kye Monastery
There are other monasteries to visit in Lahaul and Spiti. The Kardang Monastery is a popular site of Buddhist pilgrimage. The library houses the largest collection of Buddhist literature. An eighteen kilometer drive from Kyelong will take you to Ghemur hamlet. The gompa here is famous for hosting the devil dance in the month of July. The Tabo Monastery is around 46 km from Kaza.