“I couldn’t see anyone in the Key Monastery,” was a tourist’s reply while in conversation with him.
Indeed, if you want to relish Spiti, you must take your time to come—because you may be required to visit a place multiple times for a soulful experience.
I stayed in Spiti for 20 days, allowing me to see places numerous times for photography.
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How do you go from Kaza to Key Monastery?
To reach the Key Monastery, you must arrive at Kaza. In earlier blog posts, I have described the Spiti Valley routes, and you can decide accordingly.
Furthermore, renting a two-wheeler is the most promising way to do Spiti on a budget and to reach Kaza to Key Monastery.
I rented a Scooty to visit places in Spiti, and that worked well. However, I wondered whether taking Scooty was the correct decision, though it went satisfactorily.
Kaza to Key Monastery is a straightforward scenic journey of 14km.
You could also do Hitchhiking. I remembered encountering one foreigner in Kaza who had hitchhiked from Key Monastery to Kaza. Consequently, you can do vice versa. But that sounds more promising when you have time.
The First Visit to the Key Monastery
On the same trip, “I visited Key Monastery thrice.” The first instance was on the 15th of August. Ultimately, I planned to visit Key Monastery on a special occasion to see the happenings there.
It was a sunny morning, and when I reached Key Monastery, I saw monks playing on the Monastery ground.
However, I first considered that they usually play in the morning, a daily sight. But, when I interacted with them, they expressed they get to play on national holidays and weekends. Thus, I learned I had chosen a perfect day and time to arrive.
I intended to go inside the Monastery, but after noticing them play, I remained on the ground to capture the moments.
© Vansh Tiwari
Several monks were playing Volleyball and Football.
While some of them were playing cricket by hiding beneath the roof, upon questioning, they said,
We love to play cricket, but senior monks don’t want to, so we play like this. However, after some time, other kids joined and started playing openly.
They likely became confident enough to play openly when numerous monks joined for cricket.
I have interacted with a monk playing cricket, and he stated,
You’re from Delhi, so you got to see and play more often; we also love to play and participate in the local tournaments held here.
Moreover, all seemed dedicated to the sports; they didn’t intend to interfere with others. They were enhancing their skills and playing enthusiastically. Hence, I stayed active, seizing the moments.
On the Day of Independence
Since that day was Independence Day, many kid monks were holding Indian flags and waving proudly.
It was such a lovely moment to remain present and watch them.
The Next Visit to the Monastery
During the next visit, I had pre-planned to make a Documentary on the life of monks in Spiti—as a part of my Portfolio Documentary project.
However, for specific reasons, I had to drop the idea; instead, I made a Documentary on the Lodhi Art District after arriving in Delhi.
When I visited the Key Monastery following, it was Sunday; I saw some of them playing Volleyball. Regardless, my ultimate motivation remained to attend the prayer inside the Monastery.
Upon reaching the prayer room, I saw no one; then, I learned that prayer had ended. The senior monk had advised me to come the next day, between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m., when the prayer takes place.
When exiting, I enquired from a monk out of curiosity, when does that prayer happen where they carry prominent instruments? Another replied, ohh… that takes place during special occasions like Buddhist festivities.
During the Third Visit to the Monastery
I woke up very early in the morning, rushed, and reached Key Monastery around 8 a.m. There, I saw the monks were praying. Therefore, without making any noise, I entered and sat there.
Soon, a monk came and offered soup. Indeed, it was hot and delicious. Generally, a monk remained assigned to take care of food for everyone.
Precisely, you can sit as long as you want till the prayer ends. However, it would help if you remained disciplined.
Moreover, you’ll feel truthfully good when you close your eyes and meditate.
When I left the prayer hall, I saw a few foreigners enquiring about a place to stay in the Key Monastery. Indeed, you can stay at the Monastery. However, I didn’t know the exact price of the stay per day, but I heard it’s reasonable, roughly Rs. 300-400 per day. In addition, the stay includes all meals.
From Key Monastery to Kaza
While returning from the Key Monastery, there are multiple stops where you can spend your time admiring the spectacular surroundings. I remember stopping at 3 to 4 places and visiting them repeatedly to photograph the landscape from my perspective.
Eventually, throughout the Spiti trip, I was eyeing the sun going behind the clouds and the rays falling in various directions because that would become a striking moment to photograph. Already, I have chosen a few spots I run through when I envision such happenings.
Mainly, I found the Kaza to Key Monastery and Langza to Komic routes very scenic compared to others in Spiti. You can see the vast valley from these routes, which would surely be the highlight of your Spiti trip.
If you want to appreciate Spiti, you must take the time to come.
Spending time with monks and seeing them play would be a unique experience that you can add to your trip.
Merely holidays and weekends are the perfect time to witness the monks play. And ultimately, you can also play with them.
Thus, “Visiting Key Monastery Thrice was a Satisfactory Decision.”