Lahaul-Spiti City Guide
Kye Monastery in Kaza, is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the valley. The monastery completed 1000 years in 2000 AD and the millenium celebration saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with 15,000 buddhist followers.
Kye Monastery is situated 12 kms from Kaza, in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh.
The Buddhist Pilgrimage
Kye (Ki) Monastery in Spiti valley is another magnificient monument in Himachal Pradesh. The structure is so huge, that it looks more like a fort, than a monastery. The construction of this monastery does not look very orderly, rather it seems that in successive time, many temples have been added on top of the existing one. It has been a major centre of Buddhist learning and pilgimage. Kye houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Budha and other gods and goddesses. The monastery is also a centre for religious teachings to Lamas (the Tibetan Monks). One can find Lamas practice, dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. It has a cloocetion of ancient murals and books of high aesthetic value. This monastery is a perfect example of the monastic architecture. Kye monastery was attacked by the Mongols during 17th century, and suffered 3 more attacks in 19th century. The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and thus complex now resembles a defensive fort.
The Millenium Celebration
The 1000 years old Kye monastery is another millenium years old monastery, after Tabo monastery. Kye monastery dates back to 1000 AD, and a celebration of its millenium years was conducted in 2000. The celebrations witnesses 'His Holiness Dalai Lama', alongwith more than 15,000 Buddhist devotees from all parts of the globe. Buddhist regards 1000 years as Kalachakra or the 'Wheel of Time'. Kalchakra is a religious celebration performed by the Dalai Lama every year. It is considered the most revered and secret spiritual practice of trans Himalayan Buddhism for the Moksha (salvation) of all mankind. On a monastery's millennium year, the Kalachakra ceremony was considered all the more auspicious.
The design of Monastery is not symmetrical one. Continous attacks and rebuilding lead to an uneven design pattern. The monastery looks like a fort, where temples are built on top of one another. The walls of monastery are covered by paintings and Murals. This monastery is an outstanding example of the monastic architecture, which developed during the 14th century in the wake of the Chinese influence. The monastery enshrines Buddha images and idols, in the position of Dhyana.
Reaching Kye Monastery
Kye Monastery is 12 kms from Kaza town, in Spiti Valley. One has to travel 210 kms from Manali to Kaza, from where a dirt track road on north leads to Kye Monastery.