Key Monastery (also spelled Ki, Kye or Kee) is situated 7km from Kaza in Spiti valley. The altitude of Monastery is 4116 meters. The Monastery lies between 32°17′51.84″N and 78°00′43.17″E.
The walls of Monastery are covered with paintings. There are three floors in Monastery. The first floor of Key Monastery is used for storage. The second floor of key Monastery is called, the Tangyur, is painted with murals. The ground floor of Monastery has cells for monks. The Monastery is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley. The monastery appears like a fortress. The Key monastery is surrounded by snow capped mountains. The route of Key Monastery is very beautiful. The Key Monastery is popular for its architecture called Pasada style.
Kye Gompa is said to have been founded by Dromtön (Brom-ston, 1008-1064 CE), a pupil of the famous teacher, Atisha, in the 11th century. This may however, refer to a now destroyed Kadampa monastery at the nearby village of Rangrik, which was probably destroyed in the 14th century when the Sakya sect rose to power with Mongol assistance.
Destroyed and Built several times
Key was attacked again by the Mongols during the 17th century, during the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama, and became a Gelugpa establishment. In 1841 it was severely damaged by the Dogra army under Ghulam Khan and Rahim Khan. In 1840 the Key Monastery caught fire and then rebuilt. In 1975, earthquake damaged Key Monastery badly.
Culture of Key Monastery
The Monastery is religious place for Lamas. Key Monastery is home to large number of Buddhist monks and nuns. The culture of Monastery resembles with Tibet. Spiti valley is also known as Little Tibet. The Mask dance also called Chham is very popular. The subject of mask dance emphasizes the victory of good over the evil. This monastery belongs to Gelugpa sect. In 2000 Kalachakra ceremony was held at monastery in the presence of his holiness Guru Dalai Lama. 1500 lamas attended ceremony.