The biggest centre of Buddhist learning in Spiti Valley, Key Monastery is over 1000-year-old. It is the oldest training centre for Lamas. It is located at a height of 13,668 feet above mean sea level in Lahaul Spiti district.
Also famous for it's architecture called Pasada style(fort monastery).
Key Monastery was destroyed by invaders and rebuilt several times. In 1840 it caught fire and in 1975, it suffered extensive damage due to an earthquake. Having been rebuilt several times, temples and other buildings appear to have been stacked haphazardly. The monastery appears like a fortress.
The scenic landscape which forms the backdrop for Key Monastery is also a factor in the large number of tourists making a beeline for the remote monastery. Surrounded by snow capped mountains and glaciers, the beauty of the valley is breathtaking.
Art traditions are several among which are the indisputable paintings in Buddhist Monasteries. Of them the frecoes in the 10th Century Alchi Gompa founded by the Tibetan scholar Richen Zangpo, are characterized not only by complex iconic arrangement of Buddhist ritual iconography and intricate cosmic geometry but are marked by quoxotic artistic influence from Central Asia and Kashmir.
One of the famous art traditions of the Buddhist monks is the creation of intricate Sand mandalas which are believed to emanate healing and purification.
It is the symbolic representation of the universe according to Buddhist iconography. A colourful design made from sand on the floor or painted on a wall or screen.
Mandalas often depict the palace with four gates that open to the four principal directions of the Earth. They are used in rituals of the monk's initiation and are called the 'Architecture of Enlightenment'. Mandals made of sand are usually swept away to symbolise the impermanence of life.