Royal Palace


Along the top of Shey's ridge, a series of fortress ruins bracket the three-storey, 17th-century Royal Palace, which has enjoyed a wholesale reconstruction in recent years. The palace temple contains a 7.5m-tall gilded copper Buddha that dates to 1645. The upper-storey door opens to his inscrutably smiling face.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ladakh attractions

1. Royal Palace Temple

The greatest attraction in Shey's palace complex is the royal temple, with its splendid 17th-century Buddha statue. The highly revered 7.5m-tall gilded…

2. Buddha Carvings

0.12 MILES

Just by the roadside, as you round a sharp corner, a group of five ancient carved Dhyani Buddhas stand carved into the rock, 200m before the palace…

3. Druk Padma Karpo School

0.64 MILES

Though best known for its cameo role in the popular Bollywood film 3 Idiots, this school of more than 700 students has an interesting campus of prize…

4. Thiksey Gompa

2.21 MILES

Glorious Thiksey Gompa is one of Ladakh’s biggest and most recognisable monasteries, photogenically cascading down a raised rocky promontory. At its heart…

5. Thiksey Gompa Museum

2.23 MILES

The museum is unmarked and hidden away beneath the monastery restaurant; staff should be able to unlock it. Displays include well-labelled Tantric…

6. Stok Abagon

4.81 MILES

Across from Stok Palace, a short alley leads to the 350-year-old Stok Abagon, the decrepit former home of the royal physician, with a few dusty displays…

7. Gyab-Thago Heritage House

4.81 MILES

Over 200 years old, this beautifully preserved traditional house has been in the same family for six generations. Used until 2001, it remains almost fully…

8. Stok Palace

4.85 MILES

This stately three-storey edifice was built in 1820 by King Tsepal Namgyal – a good investment, it turned out, since 14 years later his larger main palace…