The old summer Palace of the kings of Ladakh is located here. The palace was built more than 555 years ago by Lhachen Palgyigon, the king of Ladakh. The palace has the largest golden Buddha statue in Ladakh.
Although there are a few indications that the Chinese knew of a trade route through Ladakh to India as early as the Kushan period (1st to 3rd centuries CE), and certainly by Tang dynasty, little is actually known of the history of the region until the formation of the kingdom towards the end of the 10th century by the Tibetan prince, Skyid lde nyima gon (or Nyima gon), a grandson of the anti-Buddhist Tibetan king, Langdarma (r. circa 838 to 841 CE). He conquered Western Tibet although his army originally numbered only 300 men. Several towns and castles are said to have been founded by Nyima gon and apparently ordered the construction of the main sculptures at Shey. "In an inscription he says he had them made for the religious benefit of the Tsanpo (the dynastical name of his father and ancestors), and of all the people of Ngaris (Western Tibet). This shows that already in this generation Langdarma's opposition to Buddhism had disappeared." Shey, just 15 km east of modern Leh, was the ancient seat of the Ladakhi kings.
Francke, A. H. (1977). A History of Ladakh. A. H. Francke (Originally published as, A History of Western Tibet, (1907). 1977 Edition with critical introduction and annotations by S. S. Gergan & F. M. Hassnain. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi.
Francke, A. H. (1914). Antiquities of Indian Tibet. Two Volumes. Calcutta. 1972 reprint: S. Chand, New Delhi.
Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.