"Zorawar Singh Kahluria (Dogri: ??????? ???? ????????) (1786-1841) was born in a village of Kahlur State (also called Bilaspur from its capital) in modern Himachal Pradesh, India. In reference to his legacy of conquests in the Himalayas including Ladakh, Tibet, Baltistan and Iskardu as General and Wazir (prime minister), he has been refereed to by historians as \"Conqueror of Ladakh\" and the \"Napoleon of India\".\nHe was born to in a Hindu Dogra Rajput family of Kahluria clan, they migrated to the Jammu region where, on coming of age, Zorawar took up service under Raja Jaswant Singhhindu raj of Marmathi (modern Doda district). In 1817 he joined the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, as the state of Doda had become part of the Sikh Empire after a campaign against its Afghan rulers. Zorawar Singh was employed by the ambitious Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and was placed under the commandant of the Reasi fort (Bhimgarh fort). While delivering a routine message to the Maharaja, Zorawar told him of the financial waste occurring in the fort administration and boldly presented his own scheme to effect savings.\nGulab Singh was impressed by Zorawar's sincerity and appointed him commandant of Reasi. As promised, the Rajput youth fulfilled his task and his grateful ruler made him commissariat officer of all forts north of Jammu. He was later made governor of Kishtwar and was given the title of Wazir (prime minister). Like Kashmir, the Kingdom of Kishtwar was formed by a river valley (the Chenab flowing from Himachal Pradesh as the Chandrabhaga)---the kingdom's ancient name was Kashtavat and it remained under Hindu rulers until the 17th Century when Raja Gairat Singh converted to Islam and received the title of Raja Sa'adat Yar Khan from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.\nSome of the people had also converted with their king but many remained true to their ancestral faith. Even though it was a newly conquered region Zorawar had no trouble in keeping the peace; many of the local Rajputs were recruited into his army. In 1835 the nearby region of Paddar was taken from Chamba (now in Himachal Pradesh) in the course of a battle. Paddar later became known for its sapphire mines. But this was a mere sideshow to General Zorawar Singh's more famous expeditions, on which he had already embarked in the previous year."
General Zorawar's Fort
"Leh Palace overlooks the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh, modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, but was later abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century. The royal family moved to Stok Palace. Leh Palace is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, the stables and store rooms were in the lower floors. The palace, a ruin, is currently being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding areas. The mountain of Stok Kangri in the Zangskar mountain range is visible across the Indus valley to the south, with the Ladakh mountain range rising behind the palace to the north.."
"Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed stupa (chorten) on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura . The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself . The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape."
"Stok Monastery or Stok Gompa or Palace is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 15 kilometres south of Leh. It was founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus in the 14th Century and has a notable library including all 108 volumes of the Kangjur. A ritual dance-mask festival is held annually. It was used for some time as a residence by the Ladakhi royalty."
"Stok Palace Museum, located within the Stok Palace at a distance of 14 km from Leh is the palace museum of Royal family. The museum showcases the worthy royal artifacts and paraphernalia including royal crowns, precious heirlooms, copper coins, prayer instruments and materials, precious stones and jewelers and also many very old 16th century Thangkas, which represents the life and teachings of Buddha. Accessible easily by jeeps or shared taxis, it is a nice museum to view the Buddhist remains in India and also to come across Buddhist life style and culture."
Stok Palace Museum
"Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery (gompa) of the Drukpa Lineage, located in Hemis, Ladakh (within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir). Situated 45 km from Leh, the monastery was re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal. The annual Hemis festival honoring Padmasambhava is held here in early June."
"Situated about 9 km from Leh, Ladakh is one of the Dharma centers Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery. This world known Buddhist Monastery is run the Karmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhists. Karmapa stands for \"the embodiment of all the activities of the Buddha\" or \"the one who carries out buddha-activity\". There are seventeen Karmapas as of today. \nThis Monastery plays an important role in propagating the values of Tibetan Buddhism and also working for the preservation of traditional Buddhist cultures. Easily reachable by taxi, the training centre in the Monastery draws lots of respect from Buddhist followers and many visitors spend their time to understand and to follow the Karmapa teachings in this Gompa."
Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery
"Matho Monastery, or Matho Gonpa or Mangtro Monastery or Mangtro Gonpa, from the Tibetan \"mang\" that means \"many\" and \"tro\" that means \"happyness\", is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located 26 kilometres southeast of Leh in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, northern India, on the banks of the Indus River. The village of Matho is located at the mouth of a deep gorge running out of the Zanskar Range and across the Indus. It is directly opposite Thikse Monastery.\nMatho is the only example in Ladakh of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Because it does not lie on the main highway from Leh, it sees fewer visitors than Hemis, Thiske or Shey. However, it is known to outsiders for its annual Oracle Matho Nagrang Festival, held on the 14th and 15th days of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. During this festival, two oracles, known as \"Rongtsan\", are said to inhabit for a few hours the body of two monks. The purpose of these oracles is to attempt to predict the fortunes of the local village communities for the coming year. The monks that are to be the oracles vehicles are chosen one every two years for a duration of 4 years. The first year the monk will have to meditate for 9 month before the festival. The three next years the meditation will last 3 months. The selection is done by lots: one name is drawn from a bowl where all monks allowed to be oracles have put their name written on a paper.\nMatho is also home to a collection of thangkas dating back to the 14th century."
"The Shey Monastery or Gompa and the Shey Palace complex are structures located on a hillock in Shey,15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the south of Leh in Ladakh, northern India on the Leh-Manali road. Shey was the summer capital of Ladakh in the past.\nThe palace, mostly in ruins now, was built first in 1655, near Shey village, by the king of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal, also known as Lhachen Palgyigon. It was used as a summer retreat by the kings of Ladakh.\nThe Shey Monastery was also built in 1655 on the instructions of Deldon Namgyal, in the memory of his late father, Singay Namgyal, within the palace complex. The monastery is noted for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha is so named since Buddha was the sage (muni) of the Sakya people who resided in the Himalayan foothills and their capital was Kapilvastu. It is said to be the second largest such statue in Ladakh."
"Stakna Monastery or Stakna Gompa is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 21 or 25 kilometres from Leh on the left bank of the Indus River.\nIt was founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar and saint, Chosje Jamyang Palkar. The name, literally meaning 'tiger's nose' was given because it was built on a hill shaped like a tiger's nose. Of note is a sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue from Kamrup, Assam. Stakna has a residence of approximately 30 monks."
"Thikse Gompa or Thikse Monastery (also transliterated from Ladakhi as Tikse, Tiksey or Thiksey) (thiksok Nambar tak pe ling) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect, located on top of a hill, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and is the largest gompa in central Ladakh.\nThe monastery is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) in the Indus valley. It is a 12-storey complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya (future Buddha) Temple which is installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970. A 15 metres (49 ft) high statue of Maitreya, the largest such statue in Ladakh, covering two storeys of the building is deified in the monastery. A nunnery is also part of the complex."