The Palace

Withstanding modernity, tradition,
environment and time.

Built entirely by the Ladakhi craftsmen in 1820

The Stok Palace still continues to be a snug abode for the Namgyal dynasty. The Namgyal dynasty traces its origin to its founder –Lhachen Palgygon as early as 10th century. You are entering a historical property and the Palace stands almost 200 years old. The Stok Palace was opened to public in 1980 with blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It encapsulates and reflects the lifestyle and history of royalty set in the midst of the valley of Singey Sangpo which is popularly known as the Indus River.

Architecture at  Stok palace heritage hotel in Ladakh

The Architecture

The construction of palace complex at Stok a significant architectural landmark among the buildings in the Ladakh region built by the rulers of the Namgyal Dynasty. It marks the final phase of the evolution of fortified palace residences characteristic of this region. Although smaller in typological characteristic and elements used, the combined clarity of concept and a remarkably high level of attention to detail and craftsmanship attest to its architectural significance. 

This building showcases several important features such as the ingenious system of spatial planning with access passages, important rooms including the royal apartments and prayer chamber are arranged around multi-level interlinked courtyards, elevation elements including the large, decorative projected balconies at the upper levels of the otherwise austere five storied main building, support and service space found only in buildings of this type such as three storied grain silos and drainage passages, have resulted in a building which together with the surrounding courtiers’ houses is an outstanding example of the vernacular architecture of this area. It is also unique in that it is the only residential complex in the region which contains murals of very high quality on various themes, both secular and religious.

The Significance

Spaces such as the entry courtyard and yabkhor (veranda) and Lhakchung (temple) on the upper floor, indicate the pivotal role of the palace in the social and religious activities of the Ladakhis in the past. In addition, the numerous chortens (stupas) and mane walls in the vicinity attest to the cultural significance of the palace.

The First Dynasty of

The Namgyal dynasty traces its origin to its founder –Lhachen Palgygon as early as 10th century. Around the 15th century, Bhagan, a Basgo king, who reunited Ladakh by overthrowing the king of Leh took the surname Namgyal (meaning victorious) and the dynasty still survives today by that name. King Tashi Namgyal (1555-1575) managed to repel most Central Asian raiders, and built a royal fort on the top of the Namgyal Peak.

The Namgyal Dynasty


The Palace Temple

The Lhakchung - the Buddhist temple shrine on the upper-most floor of the palace. The resident monk here performs daily prayers and rituals as part of his duties. Guests are welcome to be quiet observers to enchanting routine. The morning and evening prayers have an enchanting effect on the audience.

The monk who is deputed here from Chemrey monastery for one year at a time makes sacred amulets. Each amulet usually contains a hand written prayer on a piece of cloth or paper which is then folded and either sewn into a piece of hand-woven tapestry or bound by different colored sacred threads that bind the paper in a pattern as per the amulet’s purpose. You may gift an amulet to a loved or respected one for a defined purpose such as a prayer for good health or well being; or a prayer for peace or compassion. Guests have the option of reserving time with the monk where he will take you through the process of creating an amulet to take back as a gift.

Buddhist Monk
Chemrey Monastery


The Museum

The Stok Palace Museum houses an intriguing collection of precious artefacts and relics related to Ladakh's old monarchy, which particularly attract historians and anthropologists. Ancient coins, royal seals, regal costumes, precious jewellery and photographs can be found well preserved in this museum. Also displayed here are the royal family’s collection of thangkas, some of which are over 400 years old. A separate room exhibits warfare equipment of Ladakh's kingdom, where visitors can see an impressive assortment of swords, shields, bows, arrows, quivers and guns.

Antiques at Stok heritage hotel in Ladakh

Highlights of the Collection

The Queen’s ancient yub-jhur or perak, a head piece encrusted with 401 lumps of uncut turquoise, coral, gold nuggets and more; and a crown that is said to be more than a 1,000 years old. Another fascinating artefact is an actual knotted sword – the story goes that the king’s Oracle in show of supernatural power managed to bend the King Tashi Namgyal’s sword into a knot.
This private museum is the only one of its kind in the western Himalayas and is a valuable cultural resource for the region.

A virtual tour of
the Palace

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