Leh Palace: A wonder in every sense of the word

[] The architecture of the Leh Palace is inspired by the Potala Palace in Lhasa, with medieval Tibetan design styles

The Leh Palace is a historical royal palace which looks over the town of Leh-Ladakh amid the spectacular Himalayan mountain range. Sengge Namgyal built this majestic palace in 1600. The Dogra forces usurped control over Ladakh in the mid-19th century, leaving this beautiful palace completely abandoned while the royal family shifted to the Stok Palace. The palace is under the care and restoration initiatives of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

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Leh Palace

The Leh Palace is 4.5 kms from the Leh Airport and is accessible via road. You can also hire a cab, to reach the palace from the airport. The Leh Palace is also 2.2 kms from the city center in Leh. The palace remains open to the general public. Its roof offers spellbinding views of Leh and its surrounding regions. It is near impossible to estimate the actual value of Leh Palace, which is priceless in every sense.

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Leh Palace: History and important events

The Leh Palace is nine storeys high with the upper floors previously accommodating the royal family, while the lower floors contained store rooms and stables. A major portion of the Leh Palace is dilapidated although the Palace Museum has a fascinating collection of ornaments, jewellery, crowns and ceremonial dresses along with Tibetan paintings or Thangkas, which date back to 450 years. The intricate designs and vibrant colours are derived from powdered and crushed stones and gems. The structures surrounding the palace base include the well-known Namgyal Stupa and also the Chandazik Gompa with its lovely murals and the Chamba Lhakhang which dates back to 1430. A few remnants of murals from the medieval era are still present here.

Leh Palace Ladakh

In the early 15th century, Dragpa Bumdey, the Ladakh king, built the very first Leh fortifications along with a smaller residence for the royal family over the mountain ridge overlooking the main town. The king also set up Buddhist temples, two of them within the walls of the older town and the other beside the palace on the Tsemo peak, a mountain nearby. Around the 17th century, Leh transformed into the capital for the Ladakh Himalayan Kingdom which had authority over a large part of western Tibet. King Sengge Namgyal built the Leh Palace at this time and it was also called as the Lachen Palkar Palace.

Leh Palace Jammu & Kashmir

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The architecture of Leh Palace

architecture of LEH palace

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Source: Pinterest

The Palace of Leh was built in the 18th century by the king of Ladakh, Sengge Namgyal. It is one of the few buildings in Ladakh still standing from medieval times. The palace is built on a raised and fortified stone platform, which forms the foundation of the structure. Leh Palace is the traditional residence of Ladakh’s royal family. 

Built in 1665, this palace is a masterpiece of Indo-Tibetan architecture. Nestled amidst the beautiful mountains of Ladakh, Leh Palace, is a majestic monument built by the Dogra dynasty. It stands as testimony to the rich cultural heritage of this place and showcases superb architectural marvels.

How to reach the Leh Palace?

How to reach the Leh Palace?

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Source: Pinterest

The Leh Palace is a beautiful and historic building located in Old Leh City. It is situated on the Tsemo hill, just 5 kilometers from Leh Air Force Base Airport. The best way to get there is by walking through the city’s old town. From the main bazaar, you can easily reach the palace via Jama Masjid or Zangsti Road.

Best time to visit Leh Palace

Best time to visit Leh Palace

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If you’re looking to experience Leh Palace in all its historic glory, the best time to visit is during the summer months of May and June. The clear skies and vibrant scenery provide the perfect backdrop for exploring this royal site. Alternatively, the post-monsoon period of September to October is also a good time to visit, when Leh Palace takes on a whole new atmosphere.

Things you need to know before visiting the Leh Palace

Things you need to know before visiting the Leh Palace

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Climbing the stairs of the palace can be tiring, so be sure to carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated. Also, be careful not to lean against any of the overhanging balconies or windows. Before entering the temple, remember to remove your shoes. The doors are quite small inside, so you’ll need to watch your head.

  • Palace Timings and Entry Fee

The magnificent palace is open to the public every day of the week, from 7am to 4pm. The entry fee for Indians is only Rs. 15, while foreigners have to pay Rs. 100.   

  • Distance Between Leh and Leh Palace

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Leh is 2.4 km away from Leh Palace Road – but don’t worry, you can make the drive in just 6 minutes by car. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery on the way to your destination.

  • Mobile Connectivity

If you’re planning a trip to Leh Palace, don’t worry about mobile connectivity – the palace is located in Ladakh’s capital town, so you’ll be able to get service just fine. However, it’s important to keep in mind that prepaid SIM cards from other states won’t work in Jammu & Kashmir. So if you want to be able to use your phone while you’re there, you’ll need to either have a postpaid SIM or a prepaid SIM from Jammu & Kashmir.         

  • Medical Facilities

Leh Palace is located in a remote area with no medical facilities nearby. However, there are a few options in the town, including the well-equipped SNM Hospital. Although it is located a short distance away from the palace, you should not have any trouble getting the care you need while you are there.

  • ATMs

Despite its remote location, Leh Palace is situated close to a number of ATMs in the main town, so you won’t have any problems with cash during your tour to Leh-Ladakh.

  • Petrol Pumps

Ladakh is a land of high passes and barren landscapes. The Leh-ladakh road trip is one of the most popular tourist routes in India. However, travelers should be aware that there are few petrol pumps along the way. The closest pump to Leh Town is in Karu, at a distance of 35 km. So, if you are planning a road trip to Ladakh, make sure you have enough fuel to get you to your destination.   

  • Food joints near Leh Palace

Food joints near Leh Palace

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If you’re looking for some good places to eat in Leh, the main market area is definitely the place to go. With plenty of options available, the restaurants near the Leh Palace offer mouth-watering food. There are also a few restaurants near the Palace if you want to check those out.

Leh Palace: Key details

Here are some fascinating details about the Leh Palace:

  • The Leh Palace’s architecture draws inspiration from the Potala Palace in Lhasa, with medieval Tibetan design styles.
  • The building offers panoramic views of the town, with the captivating Stok Kangri Mountains in the background.

Leh Palace: A wonder in every sense of the word

  • Leh Palace is often called the forgotten monument, as it was once again abandoned after General Zorawar Singh and the Dogra Dynasty members fled after repeated onslaughts by forces from Baltistan and Tibet.
  • The Leh Palace fuses elegant simplicity with grand design touches in its architectural motifs.
  • The palace is not usually ornamented with glasswork and other vibrant patterns although its simplicity is what lends its special appeal.
  • At the time of the construction of the Leh Palace, it was the world’s tallest building.
  • Gazing upon the Leh Palace from far away in the dark creates a magical effect post sunset. The façade seems wonderfully illuminated with a golden light of its own.

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Leh Palace: A wonder in every sense of the word


When was the Leh Palace built?

The Leh Palace was built in 1600 although its construction was completed only in the 17th century.

Who built the Leh Palace?

The Leh Palace was built by Sengge Namgyal although the foundation stone was laid by the ruling dynasty’s founder Tsewang Namgyal.

Which major landmark inspired the design of the Leh Palace?

The Potala Palace in Lhasa is the inspiration for the design of the beautiful Leh Palace.

What is the Leh Palace also known as?

The Leh Palace is also called the Lachen Palkar Palace.

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Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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