Leh PalaceThe Leh Palace is a symbol of the grandeur and beauty of the exotic royals that inhabited Ladakh till the near past. The positioning of the Leh Palace is unique as it is positioned on top of a cliff and the whole of Leh can be seen sprawling below.
This is a good example of pure Tibetan architecture and the dimensions of the building are modeled on Potala Palace Lhaso, Tibet.
Structure of Leh PalaceThe Leh Palace was the legacy of the Namgyal monarch; Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. The total height of the palace is 9 storeys and the upper floors contain fine specimens of royal paraphernalia as the erstwhile royal family used to live here. The ground and the first floor of the Leh Palace contain chambers and rooms that belonged to stable boys, butlers and chamber maids of the royal family. Unfortunately the palace was abandoned in the 19th century by the royal family when they were attacked by the Dogras.
The Leh Palace is surrounded by glorious mountain ranges. You can get a very good view of the Stok Kangri which lies in the Zangskar mountain range in the south direction to Leh Palace. The mountain range of Ladakh rises behind the palace to the north.
Features of Leh PalaceThe Royal Namgyal family fled from Leh Palace to Stok Palace in 19th century right after the Dogra invasion hit Ladakh. The Royal family left behind many of their personal objects, artifacts, garments, magnificent jewelry sets, ornaments, ceremonial costumes in the Leh Palace. These objects maintained as display in the Leh Palace. This palace has a fine collection of Thangkas which are more than 500 years old. The distinctive features of these Thangkas are that they are made with real gemstone powder. This is why the depictions and imagery are still as luminescent and vivid as they were centuries back when they were constructed.
The study of these Thangkas reveals depictions of events in the lives of the royals and religious and social events. The images of the members of royal Namgyal family and their family tree are also placed in the Leh Palace. It is a well known historical fact that Tsewang Namgyal who was the founder of Namgyal dynasty initiated the construction of the Leh Palace and later his nephew the Royal king Sengge Namgyal completed the palace.
The Archaeological Survey of India recognizes the historical and social importance of the Leh Palace and it is currently undergoing reconstruction and rehabilitation work. The fierce weather of Ladakh and the invasions had damaged many parts of the Leh Palace. When you reach the Leh Palace you should spend some time in weaving your way between the webs of corridors and taking the stately stairs to reach the rooftop which has a panoramic view. There is a small prayer room which you can visit and a room containing rare photos of royal family.
The base of the palace has the famous Namgyal Stupa and the Chamba Lhakhang which was built in 1430. The Chambha Lakhang has ancient murals that are inserted in the inner and outer walls of palace. There is a beautiful painting and mural depicting the 1000 Buddha’s out which only 4 have been born so far.
How to Reach Leh PalaceThe Leh Palace is situated in the heart of the city but it’s only possible to go 2/3rd of the distance by car.
You will have to mount up the steep steps leading up to Leh Palace to view it.