Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: A cold desert valley located far away from major cities, the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh is famous for the imposing monasteries that look over the towns of the valley, like protecting figures.
The rugged and rustic terrain of the valley is known for its spiritual and peaceful vibes that fill each and every nook, cranny, stone and burrow of the valley. The sight of young monks praying at monasteries with great perseverance fills the mind and heart with a purity that is unparalleled.
Given below are the famous monasteries of Spiti Valley that are a must visit for any person who wishes to pay a visit to this valley.
Key Monastery, or Kye Gompa, is located at a height of 4,166 metres. Located close to the Spiti River in the Spiti Valley, this Tibetan Buddhist monastery is the biggest of Spiti Valley.
Believed to have been founded by Dromton who was the initiator of the Kadam School of Buddhism, the monastery is 1,000 years old. Due to its religious importance, the monastery was attacked several times by the Mongols, the Dogra rulers and rulers of Ladakh and Kulu and Sikhs.
The walls of the monastery are covered with paintings and murals, and display significant Chinese influence. The monastery has an ancient collection of rare Tibetan books, manuscripts and murals.
Located in the Tabo Village of Spiti Valley, this monastery is over 1,000 years old and was founded in 996 CE by the famous Tibetan Buddhist translator, Rinchen Zhangpo. The Tabo Monastery is also noted for being the oldest continuously operating Buddhist centre of learning in India and the Himalayas.
The frescoes on the walls of the monastery depict tales about the lives of important Buddhist teachers, including Lord Buddha. The monastery also features rare and important manuscripts, scrolls, murals, and frescoes.
The monastery is protected as a monument of national heritage by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Located in the Dhankar village of Spiti, this monastery is situated at a height of 3,894 metres.
The Gompa overlooks the confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers, and this adds to the beauty and spiritual aura of the Gompa. Dhankar was also the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley during the 17th century, and was the seat of the rulers of Spiti.
The Gompa houses a small museum, and is also listed as one of the 100 most critically endangered sites of the world by the World Monuments Fund.
Built like a fortified castle on the edge of a canyon, the Tangyud Monastery is one of the highest monasteries of India.
Located at an altitude of 4,520 metres, it lies at the periphery of the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. The Tangyud monastery is one of only two monasteries in Spiti that are dedicated to the Sakya sect of Buddhism.
Built around the 14th century, it was established when the Sakyapas rose to power under protection of the Mongols.
Since Spiti Valley is located at a considerable height, it stays cut off from the rest of the country for about 6 months of the year due to heavy snowfall. However, the Border Roads Organisation clears the road from Rohtang Pass onwards in mid-April, and tourists usually start going to the Valley from May till October end. The Valley usually receives its first snowfall of the season in early November.