Leh Palace is a prominent feature on the map of Ladakh, standing on the Tsemo Hill, with a backdrop of Himalayan Mountains. Its construction was ordered by the founder of Namgyal Dynasty of Ladakh, Tsewang Namgyal, in 1553 and completed in during the rule of his nephew, King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century.
Architecture and History
The architecture of the palace is of the medieval Tibetan style and bears resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The top floors in its nine storeys, accommodated the royal family, while the lower ones were for the stables and store rooms. It features large bolstered walls and overhanging wooden balconies. The royal family was forced to flee to Stok after the Dogras took charge of Ladakh in the mid-19th century. Since that abandonment, it has never been reoccupied.
The palace structure is in ruins as it has witnessed some of the most brutal wars of that region and the walls have suffered severe damages from cannon balls. The Archeological Conservation Organization of India is working on its maintenance and its office is located inside the palace premises. Reaching at the top is a thrilling walk through dark corridors and hidden stairways. The Leh Palace has not lost its charm and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
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