On our second day to Kibber, I and my friend along with two female travelers from Australia and a solo male traveler from Spain decided to visit the nearby Ki Monastery by trekking the hill side from Kibber to Ki. The idea was suggested by fellow travelers whom we met in Kibber. They said that the view of the Ki Gompa from above was so amazing and breath-taking.
After roaming around the enchanting village of Kibber, we were all set to visit the Ki monastery, which is 12 kms away from Kaza and situated at an altitude of 4,166 meters above sea level. We first saw the monastery sitting on the hilltop while on our way to Kibber from Kaza. I was in awe when I saw it and captivated by the magnificent beauty of the place. After, trekking for almost 1 ½ hours, we finally saw again the magnificent temple structure of Ki Monastery. The descriptions of other travelers that we met in Kibber are all true. The view from above was stunning and unbelievable! It was beyond our expectations. We seated on the edge of the cliff and stared on the beauty and unbelievable view beneath us. After a few minutes of speechless moment, we decided to trek down the steep hillside to get close and wander around the monastery.
The small town of Kibber
Me in action
Ki Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. The gompa has the distinction of being the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It serves as a religious training centre for Lamas (Monks). Ki Gompa is a home to around 300 lamas who receive their religious education here.
View from the top
Some information about Ki Gompa from Wikipedia:
“Key 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 Kadampamonastery at the nearby village of Rangrik, which was probably destroyed in the 14th century when the Sakya sect rose to power with Mongol assistance.
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 1820 it was sacked again during the wars betweenLadakh and Kulu. In 1841 it was severely damaged by the Dogra army under Ghulam Khan andRahim Khan. Later that same year suffered more damage from a Sikh army. In the 1840s it was ravaged by fire and, in 1975, a violent earthquake caused further damage which was repaired with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Public Works Department.”
Repeated attacks on the monastery resulted in frequent renovation and reconstruction work which in turn has given rise to irregular box like structure. The building has the appearance of a defensive fort rather than a monastery. Every part of the room is covered with intricate designs of mandalas, thangkas and other buddhism images. Photographs are not allowed inside the rooms of the temple, so we only managed to a get an outside view.
Monks playing Volleyball
Young Monk playing with his friends
The temple also houses some of the most valuable buddhism manuscripts, images and unique wind instruments which they still used during special occasions like fairs held during the months of July and September. They also have collection of weapons which were probably used to defend the monastery from the attackers.
Ki Gompa is truly a place where one can feel peace, calm and serenity.