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Key Monastery in the High Altitude Desert

Key Monastery, an ancient monastery in the Spiti Valley, a high altitude desert valley cut off from rainfall and the outside world by soaring mountains and treacherous roads in the state of Himachel Pradesh, North India.

We stayed here over night while trekking through from Kibber to Kaza.

Tea and meals with the monks was so much fun. We were called to meals and tea by the

sound of a conch shell horn. One of the younger monks showed us many of the sacred inner rooms of the monastery which housed thousand year old scriptures and Thangkas (Tibetan

paintings) which had been brought over from Tibet over the last thousand years. Some rooms were so sacred that outsiders were not even allowed to look in, which I really like because it leaves some mystery, which there ought to be in a thousand year old temple deep in the Himalayas The monks take there meals in an ancient kitchen, along one wall there are big stone

wood fire stoves. On top of the stoves huge blackened metal pots 3 feet across and two feet deep are used to cook for for the 300 monks that stay at Key. A few of them had been learning English and loved having someone to teach them. Having already been an English teacher many times in the past I felt right at home. My time at key monastery was definitely an unforgettable experience. I think someday I will return and spend some more time there. I can only hope it doesn't change too much.

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