Stok Palace is a royal summerhouse located a little away from Stok monastery. The palace was built in early 19th century and is still protected from commercialization. This is a three storey building which has a working restaurant.
Sightseeing is the main attraction here. Walk through the property to enjoy the historic décor, antiques and others. The palace kitchen serves simple and authentic Ladakhi cuisine, Indian and Tibetan food from locally grown ingredients. The view from the top of the palace is breathtaking. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the Indus valley against the Himalayan backdrop. Top places to enjoy are
The museum inside the palace holds interesting royal treasures like ancient crown, sword, ceremonial dress, copper pots, jade cups, weaponry of the royals and others.
The garden has many flowering plants, which will be at bloom during summer season. Tourists are allowed to walk through the garden.
Amidst the garden, a royal library holds many interesting books including 108 volumes of Lord Buddha’s teachings (Kangyur).
There is a small monastery inside the palace. Do not confuse it with Stok monastery. This monastery is located within the palace premises. You can find small statues of Padmasambhava, Buddha and others.
Walk past the monastery to visit the throne room. You can find painted ceiling, Ladakhi wooden beams, sculptures, wheel of dharma, picture of the king in the traditional royal attire and others.
Other marvels to spot during sightseeing are
Tibetan styled ceiling
Mural art work
May to September is the best time to visit this palace. The climate will be mild for sightseeing and the place will be filled with colorful blooms. The Palace is close from November to April due to snowfall and cold weather.
The palace is located 15 km away from Leh. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the palace from the Leh, on a vehicle.
The palace holds a mask dance festival (Stok Guru Tsechu) that takes place every year. This festival is celebrated throughout the village during the 9th and 10th of the first month of Lunar calendar. Apart from traditional dance and music, you can spot collection of royal clothing and other antiques during this festival.
The palace is now a heritage hotel with a few guest rooms and a small café. The café is open to all tourists. Top dishes to try are mutton momos and gyathuk.