Kye Monastery

Above the left bank of the Spiti river lies this charming monastery, the largest in the Valley, around 12 km from Kaza. It lies on a hill at a height of 4,166 m above sea level and is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley. There are many rooms housed here along with a maze of corridors that seem unplanned. Some parts of the monastery have three storeys while others have lesser. This Gompa was used both as a monastery and a fort, and it is believed to have been built by Dromton (1008–1064 AD).

No date has been ascribed to the time it was built. Today, hundreds of lamas undergo religious training here. There are many beautiful murals, paintings and stucco images here, which are an example of the 14th century monastic architecture. Alongside, there are unusual wind instruments that are used as part of the orchestra whenever the chham dance is performed today. There is also a collection of weapons housed, which may have come in use whenever the monastery was attacked by marauders or to keep a check on people who refused to follow the teachings of the monastery. The Kalchakra Ceremony was performed here by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in August 2000. This prayer is organised on a grand scale and the aim is to awaken the Buddha nature of each individual using a combination of prayer, teaching, blessing, devotion, mantra, yoga and meditation. It is essentially a search for peace. Many believe that even if one is simply present at this initiation ceremony that continues for a few days, one can be free of suffering and gain enlightenment. There are five main subjects in focus here – cosmology, psycho-physiology, initiation, sadhana and Buddhahood. There is a Kalchakra mandala and a Viswatma deity in union with his consort at the hub of this ceremony.

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