Considered to be the “largest” monastery in the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh is the Kye Monastery. This gompa is located in the Spiti and Lahaul district, and is elevated at an altitude of 4,166 meters above sea level. In addition, this monastery also provides for a religious training center for the “lamas”. Furthermore, this monastery is supposed to be about thousand year old, and comprises of old Buddhist scrolls and paintings. It is also known to have possessed at least 100 monks in the year 1855.
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a. Best time to visit the Kye Monastery
The best time to visit this sacred monastery is during the summer from June to October with the temperature ranging from a maximum of 30 degree Celsius to a minimum of 15 degree Celsius.
b. How to reach the Kye Monastery
Kye Monastery Map
1. By train:
The nearest railway station to this gompa is in Kalka. The Kalka station is very well connected to major cities in the country like Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Kolkata etc.
2. By road:
If you intend to drive to this monastery the ideal starting points would be New Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Amritsar.
- Via New Delhi:
There is one route from New Delhi to this gompa, and it is via NH44.
- Via Chandigarh:
There is one route from Chandigarh to this gompa, and it is via NH3.
- Via Ludhiana:
There is one route from Ludhiana to this gompa, and it is via NH3.
- Via Jalandhar:
There is one route from Jalandhar to this gompa, and it is via NH3.
- Via Amritsar:
There is one route from Amritsar to this gompa, and it is via NH3.
3. By air:
The closest airport to this monastery is located in Bhuntar. The Kullu-Manali Airport is well connected to major cities such as Delhi, Chandigarh etc.
c. Religious significance of the Kye Monastery
This monastery/gompa was first established in the 11th century by Dromton, a student of renowned Buddhist teacher Atisha. It is said that during the 14th century due to the influence of the Chinese this monastery was known for its beautiful architecture. The walls of this monastery essentially comprise of splendid painting, murals, thangkas (a form of Tibetan embroidered banner), Buddhist manuscripts, stucco images, and unique wind instruments. Furthermore, this monastery has also been damaged over the years, first by continuous invasions by the Mongols and then by an earthquake in 1975. Although, the overall charm of this monastery has still been retained thanks to the regular renovation work that has been carried out at this gompa down the years.