Leh Palace Ladakh: History, Architecture, Photos, And Best Time To Visit
The historical and royal Leh palace is located in the city of Leh, Ladakh situated in the Indian Himalayas. It is a former royal palace that overlooks the town of Leh. Present in the beautiful Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Leh Palace is also known as “Lachen Palkhar”. If palaces could have a soul, Leh palace’s soul would be rich in its heritage and history.
Leh palace has seen inevitable changes in Leh’s resurrection from the days of it being a cut-off region near Tibet to eventually becoming one of the highly famed tourist places around the globe. This palace is now in a tumbledown condition and is being maintained by the “Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)”.
This majestic building also holds a museum that is over 450 years old. Overall one can say that this location provides a breathtaking and picturesque view of the snow-clad mountains of Ladakh. Leh Palace is among one of the greatest and most historic of all the Leh tourist places in Ladakh.
Leh Palace History:
While the written records date the existence of Leh Palace Ladakh all the way back to the 16th century, there are many historical facts that were left unwritten. The construction of this Leh palace started in 1553 by Emperor Tsewang Namgyal, founder of the Namgyal Dynasty of Ladakh. The nine-storied building was finally completed in the 17th century by the nephew of Tsewang Namgyal, Sengge Namgyal. He is also known by the name of “Lion King”.
The darkest time in the history of the palace was when the whole Royal Family had to desert this palace and shift to another stock palace in the mid 19th century as the Dogra Dynasty forces invaded Ladakh and overtook the control of the whole city. The palace’s soul has also faced some of the most devastating wars. This is evident from the damage caused by cannonballs.
Leh Royal Palace is one of the marvels of architecture around the world. It is a nine-story building, built mostly out of the soil, rocks, and wood, and also capable of withstanding intense seismic shocks over the city. Designed in line with the Potala Palace in Lhasa Palace, Tibet, the Leh Palace is one of the tallest buildings of that era. The jutted out wooden balconies and the huge walls are the unique features of the medieval Tibetan architectural style.
The entrance of the palace is decorated with wood-carved figurines. Although the palace is located in ruins, some small rooms, few spacious compartments, and corridors still exist. The bigger rooms and corridors of the palace have been transformed into exhibition halls. Back in the 16th century, it was an arduous task to carry all of the construction material to the top of this steep and craggy hill. After discerning this monument we can imagine the amount of hard work that has been done by the workers. The animals involved in the construction task had also done a commendable job.
A “Victory Tower” stands above the great royal palace Leh Ladakh. This tower was erected to pay tribute to the dauntless Ladakhi Soldiers who fought valiantly against the invading Balti Kashmiri Soldiers in the 16th century. This royal palace witnessed the victory of the Ladakhi Brave hearts.
Timings and Entry fee:
Due to its historic nature and astounding construction, the Government of India, in a step to preserve this monument and its historic culture and heritage, has set up an office of the Archaeological Conservation Organisation. According to this organization, this monumental Leh Palace is open for the folks between 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
The entry charges for the Leh city Palace are very minimal. Indian Citizens are charged Rs. 15/- per head and a foreign national is charged Rs. 100/-.
Best Time to Visit:
Although Leh palace is open for visitors around the year, this majestic royal palace will be more enchanting if one decides to visit this palace during summers from April to August. The weather remains pleasant and the sun rays beautifully scatter over the monument illuminating the palace, making it an “abode of heaven”.
How to Reach Leh Palace:
The nearest railway junctions from Leh Palace are Chandigarh Junction and Pathankot Junction. But opting for railways is not a convenient option as it would take 2-3 days to reach the city of Leh by road from these stations.
Srinagar, Jammu, and Delhi are the nearest Airports from Leh. After landing in one of these cities, you would have to carry out your further journey by roadways.
One can take their own personal vehicles to reach this city. Moreover, regular bus services are organized by the J&K State Road Transport Corporation, plying from Srinagar to Leh. Private taxis are also available for rent. Himachal Pradesh Tourism (HRTC) also operates ordinary and deluxe buses from Manali to Leh on a daily basis.
Adventure lovers from across the globe often go for self-driving and hire jeep, SUV, motorbike, or even a cycle to reach Leh via various available challenging routes.