The First Dynasty of Ladakh

The Namgyal dynasty traces its origin to its founder –Lhachen Palgygon as early as 10th century. Around the 15th century, Bhagan, a Basgo king, who reunited Ladakh by overthrowing the king of Leh took the surname Namgyal (meaning victorious) and the dynasty still survives today by that name. King Tashi Namgyal (1555-1575) managed to repel most Central Asian raiders, and built a royal fort on the top of the Namgyal Peak. Tsewang Namgyal temporarily extended his kingdom as far as Nepal.

During the reign of Jamyang Namgyal, Baltistan was invaded by Balti ruler Ali Sher Khan Anchan in response to Jamyang's killing of some Muslim rulers of Baltistan. Many Buddhist gompas were damaged during Khan's invasion. Today, few gompas exist from before this period. The success of Khan's campaign impressed his enemies. According to some accounts, Jamyang secured a peace treaty and gave his daughter's hand in marriage to Ali Sher Khan. Jamyang was given the hand of a Muslim princess, Gyal Khatun's hand in marriage. Sengge Namgyal (1616–1642), known as the 'lion' king was the son of Jamyang and Gyal. He made efforts to restore Ladakh to its old glory by an ambitious and energetic building programme by rebuilding several gompas and shrines, the most famous of which is Hemis. He also moved the royal headquarters from Shey Palace to Leh Palace and expanded the kingdom into Zanskar and Spiti.

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The Royal family has always had social responsibility duties from the back in the day of their legacy, the family has built many cultural heritage sites and monasteries and helped communities socially and economically. But in today’s context the task of building such wonderful works of art is not as it was, so in order to preserve what is already built, the Royal family is engaged in numerous projects and have been instrumental in preserving important heritage sites and have been awarded with prestigious awards from UNESCO.