Friday, March 28, 2014

Stok Palace Ladakh

Located 14 km southwest of Leh in Ladakh district of Jammu & kashmir ; Stok was the seat of erstwhile rulers of Ladakh. Also renowned for the 14th century Buddhist monastery, Stok Palace attracts lots of trekkers too as it serves as the gateway to several high altitude trekking trails in Himalayas.
Situated in a beautiful locale surrounded by Stok Kangri range, Markha and Indus valleys, Stok is a visual treat for visitors.
Stok was the erstwhile seat of the Ladakh royal family. The Stok palace was built about two hundred years ago by king Tsepal Tondup Namgyal after Sikh general Zorawar Singh’s invasion of Leh. Descendants of the Ladakh royal family still reside in the palace.
The museum within the palace exhibits artifacts which enlighten visitors about the life of the Ladakh royals, their history, currency and weapons.
The 14th century Stok monastery , situated above the palace, was founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus and the monasteries follow the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Buddhism.  Monastery has assembly hall, courtyard, verandah, temples, chortens and library.
Monastery has many reasons to attract the visitors including non-Buddhists. One is its ancient paintings on the wall that include images of Vajrapani, Avalokitesvara, Skayamuni (historical Buddha), Tara (the Saviouress), Nangyalma and Amchi (The Medicine Buddha).
The library in the monastery has 108 volumes of the Buddha’s teachings. Latest temple constructed in the monastery is dedicated to Avalokitesvara which is another major attraction for visitors. The image of the Avalokitesvara has 1,000 hands and 11 heads. The small chapel within the monastery is the oldest in whole Ladakh region.
Stok Guru Tsechi Festival is great crowd puller. Everyone is allowed to be part of the celebration. Dance, music and festive foods make the celebration a memorable one.
Stok is popular with trekkers too as it serves as the gateway to various trekking routes. Though situated at high altitude, the treks can be undertaken by even amateurs.

This is just one aspect covered in Ladakh. There is much more this region has to offer.  From nature, culture , wildlife , trekking , bikes and lot more .  Though active for only few months in a year , there is no such place as spectacular as Ladakh. A must visit once in a lifetime.
Plan your Ladakh Holiday now.

No comments:

Post a Comment