Built in - 11th century
Built by - Drompton, a famous disciple of teacher Atisha
Highlights - The biggest center of Buddhist learning in the Spiti and the oldest training center for Lamas.
Key Monastery is more than 1000 years old and is the most significant Buddhist learning center in the valley. It is placed at an altitude of 13,668 feet above the mean sea level and was home to around 350 lamas once. This Gompa was founded in the 11th century by a popular disciple of teacher Atisha, Drompton. Over time, the number of lamas staying in the monastery has decreased. This monastery is one of the three monasteries that belong to the Gelugpa sect, also called the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism, along with Drangtse and Tabo Monasteries.
One of the most prominent features of this monastery is its Pasada style of architecture, which can be noticed through its 2 or more stories, looking like a fort-monastery. Spread in three floors, the monastery's underground space is for storage. On the ground floor, there are a number of rooms for monks and there is also an assembly hall, Du-Khang.
Popular for rare housing thangkas, vintage murals, and old weapons, the Gompa has rooms with special paintings called Tangyur, which must be seen. Visitors can also see a fine collection of musical instruments such as drums, cymbals, and trumpets.
The fire destroyed the Key Monastery in 1840 and the earthquake in 1975. Invaders have also destroyed the monastery. It has been reconstructed a number of times and due to the same reason, the pattern of temples and the other buildings look slightly disorganized.
One of the most popular monasteries in Spiti, it was the site of the Kalachakra ceremony in the year 2000, which was also attended by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, and 1500 other lamas.
The Key Monastery boasts of wonderful surroundings, enveloped by glaciers and snow-capped mountains. The scenery is awe-inspiring. This monastery has also been the location of some of the scenes of the Bollywood movie Paap, starring John Abraham and Udita Goswami in the lead.
The best time to visit the Key Monastery is from May to October, as later on, Rohtang Pass remains closed in winter due to heavy snowfall. Key Monastery is easily accessible from the major towns and cities of the country. The nearest airport is in Kullu, which is Bhuntar Airport. The nearest railhead is in Shimla and by road, the Spiti Valley is well-connected with Chandigarh, Shimla, and Manali.
You can plan your tour to Key Monastery with our customizable Spiti Valley tour packages. Contact our travel experts for more information and book a tour with us!