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Leh Palace

Place : Ladakh, Kashmir
Significance : Beautiful and simple palace built in 17th century.
Best Season : April to September
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Leh, the capital of Ladakh, situated at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, is blessed with nature's bounty like snow carved peaks, barren terrain and mystic culture.

Leh was served as the royal capital of the old Kingdom, and it is dominated by its imposing 17th-century royal palace. It is a nine-storey palace made mostly of mud bricks. Now in a ruined condition, it is currently being restores by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The palace which is situated on the Tsemo Hill was initiated by Tsewang Namgyal, the founder of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh in 1553 and was completed by his nephew Sengge Namgyal. The palace was abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid 19th century, and this led the royal family living in this palace shifted to Stok Palace.

Also known as 'Lhachen Palkhar', the palace, though comparatively smaller resembles the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet

The palace is open to the public. From the roof of this palace, one can have an aerial view of Leh and the surrounding areas. The mountain of Stok Kangri in the Zangskar mountain range is visible across the Indus valley to the south, with the Ladakh mountain range rising behind the palace to the north.

It opens from 0700 to 0930 in summer. It was built in the mid of 16th century by King Singe Namgyal. It is still owned by the royal family and they lives in the upper floors. This palace has nine storeys. The sloping buttresses and projecting wooden balconies are added to its beauty. Just above the Leh Palace is the famous Victory Tower that was built to commemorate the victorious brave Ladakhi soldiers who fought the invading armies of Balti Kashmiris in the early 16th Century. Today, the palace serves as an office for Indian Government's Archaeological Conservation Organization.

One part of the palace is occupied by the museum. The museum boasts a rich collection of jewellery, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns. Chinese thangka or sooth paintings which are more than 450 years old, with intricate designs, retain bright and pleasing colours derived from crushed and powdered gems and stones.

Its narrow passages lined with paintings, arms and old thankas (cloth painted with Tibetian deity). Its central prayer room has religious texts lining the walls.

The best time to visit Leh Palace is during the months of April to September, because the temperature is cool and also offers panoramic views of the majestic mountains.

Timings - Opening & Closing: Monday - Friday: 6.00 AM - 7.00 PM , Saturday: 6.00 AM - 7.00 PM , Sunday: 6.00 AM - 7.00 PM , Public Holidays: 6.00 AM - 7.00 PM
Entry fee : Indians is Rs.15/- Foreigners Rs.100/-