Our visit to Kibber Village was very impressive.After spending some time there, we moved back towards Kye (Ki, Kee or Key) Monastery, which is 7 kms away from Kibber Village on Kibber-Kaza Road. That journey of Tata Sumo at the altitude of 4000 meters and above was very adventurous. The Sumo moved down on those rocky, winding roads in the middle of barren deserted mountains backed by the snow-capped high peaks of Himalayas. My eyes searched for the herd of Ibex and Bharal, the most seen animals at this height,But, to my bad luck, they were nowhere in sight. I was a bit disappointed, but still the fabulous scenery around me gave me some pleasure. Maintenance work was in progress on the bad patches of the road, so our vehicle made frequent stops and we completed 7 kms journey in 45 minutes. But it seemed like a boon to me, because whenever driver stopped the vehicle, I left it to capture those beautiful barren mountains of the cold desert.
While moving from Kibber towards Kaza, after 7 kms from Kibber, there is a small road diverging from the main road to the Kye Gompa, which is 500 meters away from the main road on a hilltop. In the midst of the spectacular view of the nature, the driver moved the Sumo at that small road and through the grand welcome gate of Kye Monastery, we reached to the parking of the Monastery, which is about 400 meters from the main entrance. The vehicles are allowed upto the main entrance, but at that time there was some construction work in progress, so we were not allowed beyond the parking.
We left the vehicle with driver and walked towards the monastery. Due to construction, there were cement, mortar and sand all around in the air. Avoiding that storm of dust, we passed through the main entrance and welcomed by a set of prayer wheels.We rotated the prayer wheels and moved further to an inner courtyard. There was none to be seen inside.Confused where to go now, I began clicking pictures and then suddenly a man appeared from somewhere. He introduced us to a Lama. We were supposed to visit rest of the monastery with that Lama ji.He informed us that except the roof of the monastery, photography was not allowed anywhere.
Situated at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, this monastery dates back to around 1000AD, and is one of the oldest in the whole of Spiti Valley, second only to the Tabo Monastery. It is the biggest monastery of the Spiti Valley and a religious training centre of the Lamas. It looks like a house built on the top of another and they are haphazardly spread over the hill cliff. This monastery was damaged many times in the past due to the war, fire and earthquake. The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and so the monastery looks like a fort, with temples built on top of one another.
Lama took us to a prayer hall through a series of narrow steps.There was a huge picture of Buddha, where we offered our prayers. There was a large set of Desi Ghee Diyas (lamps) in the corner, which is a common site in any Buddhist Monastery of the Spiti Valley.These diyas are lighted every evening. From there we went to another prayer room, where Lama showed us the bed used by His Holiness Dalai Lama during his visit. Earlier this hall was always used by him for purpose of the rest, but now there is a new prayer hall in the monastery, where he stays during the visit.The monastery has a collection of ancient murals and books of high aesthetic value and it enshrines Buddha images and idols, in the position of Dhyana. There are donation boxes in every prayer hall of the gompa, where you can donate some money as per your wish.
From there, we went to the roof of the monastery. It is an amazing site. One side is covered by the high hills of Himalayas and other side is covered by the Spiti river valley and beyond that, there are snow-capped high peaks of Himalayas. Looking down, nestled on the banks of Spiti River,there is Kye Village and its green -lush small farms that bring relief to the eyes.I captured all the surrounding views and gave our sincere thanks to Lama ji. We walked back towards the Sumo.
At the entrance gate, we met a gentleman from Delhi. He visits that monastery every year for a month. He informed that his stay at this monastery gives him immense pleasure and satisfaction. He also informed us about the Chham Dance Festival, which is held at the monasteries of Spiti Valley in the month of July every year. The whole monastery is decorated during the festivals and many tourists and photographers come to Spiti to witness this wonderful moments of life.
We moved further and saw some small cute lama kids playing in the field along the road. Sometimes they played football, sometimes volleyball, but they were happy in their own world. In the school of a religion, watching the game of those little folks was a very pleasant experience. Although they are studying about Religion and Traditions there, but they are still enjoying their life like any other kids from this modern fast growing world. And when I was surfing for some information on this monastery, I came to know that from Sept.2011, this monastery was headed by a 10-year old boy, Rinchen Namgyal of Ladakh,who is said to be the reincarnation of a renowned Buddhist monk Kachen Dugyal. Remeber the Bollywood Movie “Paap” on the same story?? Read this article of Times of India for details on this: 10-year-old boy is head of Kye monastery.
There is a restaurant near the parking place, known as Noryang Restaurant, that provides Chinese, Italian and Tibetan foods. However due to the time-constraint we did not go inside the restaurant, so I do not have any idea about the food quality.
Visiting Kye Monastery was a wonderful experience. We stared our journey back to Kaza. We stopped to capture some beautiful scene and photo pictures while passed through the Kye village and along the Spiti river and finally reached Kaza in one hour.
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