The palace was constructed circa 1600 by Sengge Namgyal. The palace was abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century and forced the royal family to move to Stok Palace.
It is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, while the lower floors held stables and store rooms. Much of the palace is in deteriorated condition, and little survives of its interior decorations. The Palace Museum holds a rich collection of jewellery, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns. Chinese thangka or paintings, which are more than 450 years old, with intricate designs still retain the bright colours derived from crushed and powdered gems and stones. Stuctures around the palace's base include the prominent Namgyal Stupa, the colourfully muralled Chandazik Gompa and the 1430 Chamba Lhakhang, with medieval mural fragments located between the inner and outer walls.
The palace is being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding areas.
- Potala Palace, built in 1645 in the same architectural style
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