Kye Monastery – The learning centre of Buddhism
Kye Monastery was established by a Buddha’s Disciple named Drompton in the 11th century and is one of the main training centres for lamas in this region. Situated at an altitude of 4115 metres and is also known as the ‘Little Tibet’. The Monastery specializes in certain specific subjects like sadhana, Buddha hood, Cosmology and Physiology and is the most frequented religious destinations for the Buddhists in the state along with the Tabo Monastery. The monastery is around 12 km north of Kaza in the Spiti valley above Kye village and you can also hike it easily.
Numerous invasions, natural calamities and patch-work as reconstruction has given it a box-like structures giving it a look of a fort with temples built on top of one another. There are low rooms and narrow corridors, not so well lit passages, difficult staircases and small doors lead to prayer rooms which themselves do not conform to a single design. There are three floors, the first one is mainly underground and used for storage. One room, called the Tangyur is richly painted with murals. The ground floor has the beautifully decorated Assembly Hall and cells for many monks.
Kye Monastery has Thangkas (a painted or embroidered Tibetan banner), valuable manuscripts of high aesthetic value, images, unique wind instruments and on the top of all this a collection of weapons which were probably made use of to defend the monastery from the attackers. The wind instruments are still put to use in summers during Chaam. Around the month of June and July, the Kye Monastery celebrates a festival wherein Chaam dances are followed by a procession that reaches the ritual ground below the monastery. Here, a large butter sculpture of a demon is set on fire.
Locals here also run an old age home for people looking for salvation in their old age.