Welcome to Ki
About 12km northwest of Kaza, on the road to Kibber, tiny Ki is dominated by the whitewashed buildings of the photogenic Ki Gompa. Set atop a conical hillock, this is the largest gompa in Spiti, with around 350 senior and student monks. An atmospheric puja is held in the new prayer hall every morning around 8am. On request, the monks will open up the medieval prayer rooms, including the Zimshung Lhakhang, which houses a bed slept in by the Dalai Lama in 1960 and 2000. Dance masks and highly colourful costumes are brought out for Losar and the Ki Chaam Festival, a week long series of rituals seeking good fortune for the coming year, which culminates in a day of lively dancing by lamas to the sound of horns, percussion and deep-throated chanting – and free lunch for all present.