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The staggering longevity of 1820s Stoke Palace- Built entirely by the Ladakhi craftsmen

Built entirely by the Ladakhi craftsmen with mud bricks and wood in 1820, The Stok Palace still continues to be a tranquil abode for the Namgyal dynasty. Renovated and restored about a decade ago, the palace, turned into a majestic heritage hotel is a vision to behold.

Stok Palace has earned the reputation of being one of the most unique royal palace hotels.These days, it offers to the discerning visitors a selection of four suites, a royal suite, a queen’s bedroom and three garden villas.

Situated amidst the valley of Singey Sangpo which is popularly known as Indus River. The architecture of Stok Palace is a fine meld of the traditional and the contemporary architectural styles. The five-storeyed fortified structur has eover 260 rooms—royal apartments, a monastery, a three-storeyed granary, guest rooms and suites, staff quarters, and storage areas—are connected by a labyrinth of corridors and courtyards.

Comprising of beautiful gardens as well as a library that houses 108 volumes of the Kangyur (collection of teachings of Lord Buddha), the palace is amongst the must visit places in Ladakh.

The summer home of the royal family of Ladakh, Stok Palace is one of the major attractions in Leh. Built in 1820 by King Tsepal Namgyal, the palace reflects the rich history and lifestyle of the royal family.

Colour­ful murals and frescoes adorn the ceiling in the iconic  Tibetan style, the room itself is a delightful mix of pastel shades and traditional wood and mud-brick stylings. The bathroom is modern and luxuriously appointed.

The wooden balcony is a highlight, looking out on the palace’s huge front courtyard, dominated by a huge tarchen, a flagpole that’s commonly found in front of Tibetan Buddhist homes. It signifies that the household contains all the main Mahay­ana sutras as well as the Prajnaparamita manuscript.

The interior of the building is dominated by a central courtyard with another, smaller tarchen tied to a yak head, with shaded balconies and small staircases leading off to the vari­ous wigs of the palace.The main objects of in­terest here are the royal family’s collection of thangkas, some of which are over 400 years old but retain a vividness of colour that’s a marvel to behold

The museum rooms in the palace also showcase family treasures, including the queen’s ancient turquoise-and-gold encrusted crown, which is called Yub-Jhur and a sword that the king’s Oracle managed to bend into a knot known as the Uri Geller-style.

Stok palace still remains the summer home for the royal family.  Annually native speakers gather in huge numbers here to put on a thrilling show during the dance-mask festival. 

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