Leh Palace known as the ‘Lhachen Palkhar’ is a former royal palace of the Leh Kingdom. Located in Leh city. It is one of the biggest tourist attraction of Leh city. The 17th century Palace, Leh Palace is also one of the tallest buildings of its time with nine story’s. The palace provides spectacular views of Stok Kangri and the Ladakh mountain range as well as town and surroundings. The palace is now in a run-down condition being maintained and restored by the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’ (ASI).
Founder of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh, Tsewang Namgyal started the building of the Leh Palace on the Tsemo Hill in 1553. The construction was completed by the 17th century during the reign of Sengge Namgyal known as the 'Lion' King. The upper floors of the nine-storied palace were used for residential purpose by the royal family, whereas the lower floors had storerooms and stables. In the mid-19th century as the Dongra forces invaded and took over Ladakh, the royal family had to shift to Stok Palace. Leh palace not only remained a helpless witness to severe wars but also faced the wrath as it handled serious damage.
Although smaller in dimension, Leh palace resembles Lhasa’s Potala Palace. It is one of the finest examples of medieval Tibetan architecture. Built of stones, wood, mud and sand, the walls of the palace create a comfortable ambiance, it is cold in harsh summers and warm in the winter days. Although the palace is in ruins but carved entrances, small compartments, few spacious rooms and corridors still exist in their original glory. Many of the bigger rooms and corridors of the palace have been turned into exhibition halls. Numerous murals etched on the walls of the palace depict the grandeur of its earlier days.
The Victory Tower lying just above the palace is a famous landmark. It was constructed to memorialize the 16th century battle put up by the Ladakhi soldiers against the invading Balti Kashmiri soldiers.
The grand royal palace of Leh overlooks the Namgyal hill lying atop the old Leh city. Snuggled in the lap of beautiful landscapes, the Palace is a popular tourist destination in Leh. The important hub of Buddhist culture and religion provides spectacular views. A statue of Lord Buddha graces the monastery of the palace. Old pictures and paintings are displayed in the exhibition halls of the palace, which include Tibetan thangka and other artistic paintings. Paintings that are over 450 years old are housed here. Some of these fine specimens were created using colors derived from powdered stones and gems. Till date these paintings retain their rich and vivid appearance. The Leh palace treasures a rich collection of crowns, ceremonial dresses and jewellery among others.