Shey Palace and Monastery
Shey Palace

Shey Palace and Shey Monastery are about 15 km from the main Leh town on Leh-Manali highway, located on a hilltop in Shey village, the erstwhile summer capital of Ladakh.

Built in 1655, historians say that Shey palace was used as the summer retreat of the Namgyal Royal Family of Ladakh. The Shey Monastery was built within the complex by Deldon Namgyal in the memory of his departed father in 1655. The monastery houses a huge statue of Shakyamuni Buddha which is about 40 ft high and occupies three storeys of the monastery.

Shey is at an average elevation of about 11,200ft. Shey Palace is the highest point of Shey village. The Druk White Lotus School, renowned as Rancho School or 3 Idiot’s School, is also located in Shey village close to Shey Palace and monastery.

Lhachen Palgyigon, the then King o Ladakh, had built the original palace in the 10th century. The palace is now in ruins. The Moghul noble Mirza Haidar Dughlat has stayed at Shey Palace during his invasion of Ladakh in the 15th century.

Shey was the old capital of the upper Ladakh region. When the Dogras of Jammu invaded Ladakh in 1842, the Namgyals abandoned the palace and fled to Stok Palace which they made their permanent residence. It is conjectured that the fort found in ruins, not dated, above the present palace at Shey, belonged to this period of invasion. Subsequently, when the political dictates necessitated shifting of the capital to Leh, even then the importance of Shey continued since it was a mandatory requirement of the Namgyal kings to father their heir apparent here.

Shey Palace and Monastery is now a popular tourist place that is generally visited by the tourists along with Thiksey monastery.

 

How to reach Shey Palace

Shey Palace is reachable from Leh after 20 minutes of travel by road. Shey is just 15km from Leh. Shey palace can be visited while travelling on Leh-Manali highway or while visiting Pangong Lake or Thiksey monastery or Hemis monastery.

Best time to visit Shey Palace

Shey can be visited anytime in the year but April to October is the best time to visit.

Travel tips

Visit 3 Idiot School (or Rancho School) along with Shey palace and monastery as the school is located in the Shey village. Tourists can visit Shey, Thiksey and Hemis monasteries together. If you are staying overnight at Pangong Lake, then you can visit Shey Palace, Thiksey Monastery and Hemis Monastery together while returning back to Leh.

 

Also Read: Discover Leh Ladakh first to reach Zanskar valley by new road via Shinkula

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