Key Monastery

Located amongst the barren mountains of the cold desert valley of Spiti, is a thousand-year-old monastery, one of the most important Buddhist teaching centres in the world and a living memory of the ancient Tibetan Buddhism.

Founded in the 11th century by Dromtön, pupil of the famous Buddhist teacher Atisha, Key Monastery has withstood a thousand years’ worth of history. In the 14th century, the monastery was predominantly a part of the Sakya Sect, which rose to power with the help of the Mongols.

In the 17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama reigned over Key Monastery, and due to an attack by the Mongols, fell under the Gelugpa Sect. in 1830, it was sacked again during the wars between Kullu and Ladakh.

It was damaged yet again when the Dogra army marched into Spiti in 1841. Later in the same year, it was damaged by the Sikh Army. In the late 1840s, it suffered from fire damage.

In 1975, a violent earthquake caused further damage, which was repaired with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Public Works Department.

While Key Monastery has seen a thousand years’ worth of history, it has also sustained a culture from the time past.

The monastery walls are adorned with fascinating and beautiful murals which chronicle the rich history and mythology of Buddhism.

It is home to various ancient texts and books belonging to both the Gelugpa Sect and the Sakya Sect.

Various festivals and celebrations are held at Key Monastery such as the Chham Festival. Part of the festival is the Chham Dance, a synchronized masked and costumed dance accompanied by traditional Tibetan music. Ceremonial dances are performed in the courtyard by monks wearing vibrant silk robes, colourful masks and headdresses.

In 2000, during the monastery’s millennial anniversary, His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama performed the famous Kalachakra empowerment initiation for the devotees of the monastery.     

Visit Key Monastery as part of the Spiti Valley and Sach Pass Motorbike Expedition and Jeep Safari. Next available batch starts on July 19 2019. For more info, contact +91 8956985191/9923063562 OR email us at info@tyremark.com                                                     

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