DAY 1: LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh, India
Towering over the main bazaar stands Leh Palace, the 9-storey restored complex was the former royal family of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh. Modeled after Lhasa’s Potala Palace, the Leh Palace served as the royal residence for three centuries until Ladakh’s royalty was forced out of Leh by the Dogra forces. Nowadays, the ruined palace has been restored by the Archaeological Survey of India and became the most prominent tourist attraction of the city.
Despite a little tired, we wouldn’t want to end the day without seeing the iconic Leh Palace. Near the bazaar, we found a taxi to take us for the short uphill journey. As we approached the palace, stunning panorama of Leh was right below us. After paying the admission, we walked into the palace from the side entrance. Through dark hallways and narrow stairs, we explored the labyrinth like complex one level at a time. All rooms were long been emptied. Occasional wall paintings and colourful timber carvings revealed the former glory of the once splendid palace. Today, most visitors came to Leh Palace for the spectacular views from the balconies, terraces and rooftops, including us. Yellowish sunlight and long shadows were cast on the small temple below the palace entrance.
Stone path leading to the side entrance of Leh Palace.
Beautiful wood carvings at the palace entrance.
Dark hallways and narrow stairs connect to all spaces of the palace.
Balconies and terraces existed on every level.
Visitors were delighted to reach the terraces at various levels.
Most of the flat roofs were accessible for tourists.
Visitors having a good time in front of the dramatic backdrop of Leh and the Stok Mountain Range.
Interior of the former royal chamber.
The colourful timber carvings survived in the arid climate of Ladakh.
Finally we reached the topmost two levels of the roof and had a perfect view of the Namgyal Tsemo Monastery up the rocky hill.
With Stok Kangri (6153m) being the highest peak, the prominent Stok Range provided a dramatic backdrop for Leh.
Outside of Leh town centre, earthy houses scatter on the rocky slopes of the surrounding mountains.
View of the main bazaar of Leh.
Main building of Leh Palace with the former royal chamber at the top level.
Terraces at different levels of Leh Palace.
Fortress-like external walls of Leh Palace.
We exited the complex from the same entrance we entered the palace.
It was late afternoon by the time we left Leh Palace. There was a small monastery, Chandazik Gompa, below the palace entrance.
The small gathering courtyard of Chandazik Gompa overlooking the city of Leh.
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Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi