Do You Ever Crave to Know About the Man behind Architecture of Leh- Ladakh?

Abundant natural beauty, beautiful architecture of palaces and monasteries are definitely the delight of travellers in Leh- Ladakh. Well, you need to hear the biography of Sengge Namgyal (1570-1642), also known as ‘Lion King’ to get the deep insights about development of Leh- Ladakh. This is the name behind the amazing architecture works in Leh- Ladakh. He built monasteries, palaces and shrines there. He was a 17th century Namgyal dynasty king in Ladakh and his ruling period was 1616 to 1642.

Family and Childhood

Sengge was born in a family that was devoted to Buddhism religion. His father’s name was Jamyang Namgyal while his mother was a Muslim. During the reign of his father, Jamyang Namgyal, Basgo monastery was built. A 24-feet statue of Maitreya was placed inside that monastery. Later, a 32-feet statue of Buddha was placed. That statue of Buddha is ranked as the second largest Buddhist statue in Leh- Ladakh. However, the largest statue of Buddha has been placed in Shey Palace.

During his youthful years, he was great at martial arts and commanding. In 1616, Jamyang Namgyal passed away and then Sengge Namgyal led the kingdom. The kingdom flourished during his reign and generated revenue for the state. The state prospered because of trading through Silk Road. Trading with Kashmir and Tibet brought wealthy results for Leh- Ladakh.

His Contribution

Contribution of Sengge Namgyal in the architecture of Leh- Ladakh is quite immense and noteworthy. He built Leh Palace, Hemis Monastery and Hanle Monastery.  His contribution can also be seen in the renovation of Golden Temple of Tabo Monastery at Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. It was once covered with gold completely. At present, its walls and ceilings are seen to be adorned with murals.

Sennge Namgyal died at Hanle in 1642. He had just returned from an expedition against Mongols who were threatening to occupy Ladakh. After his death, Chemrey Monastery was dedicated to Sengge Namgyal. It was built in 17th century.

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