Khaplu Palace, locally known as Yabgo Khar, is an old fort and palace located in Khaplu, a city in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The palace, considered an architectural heritage site and a significant tourist attraction, was built in the mid-19th century to replace an earlier-dated fort located nearby. It served as a royal residence for the Raja of Khaplu.

From 2005 to 2011, Khaplu Palace underwent a restoration project carried out by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture under the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme. The palace now houses a hotel operated by Serena Hotels and a museum depicting the history and culture of Baltistan.

Khaplu Palace was built in 1840 by the Yabgo Raja Daulat Ali Khan of Khaplu[1][2] after the Dogra of Kashmir who captured the region decided to move the seat of government from the old fort. The site of the palace was chosen by rolling a large stone down from a nearby cliff; it stopped at the Doqsai village, and the palace was built there.[3] The earlier fort was located near the location of the present-day palace. Khaplu Palace replaced the former fort as the royal residence after its completion.[1][2] According to Jane E. Duncan, the people of Khaplu used to live inside this fort and were not allowed to build their homes outside its premises. After the Maharaja of Kashmir assumed control of the region, this custom was changed, which led to an end to hostilities between the local kings.[4]

The former fort was captured by Murad Khan of Maqpon Dynasty, the ruler of Baltistan, in the Conquest of Khaplu in the 1590s[5] by cutting off the water and other supplies to the fort. The troops of Murad besieged the fort for three months, resulting in the surrender of Rahim Khan, the 62nd Yabgo dynasty ruler of Khaplu. The fort again fell to invaders in the 1660s and 1674.[6]

The Yabgo descendants continued to live there even after their kingdom was abolished in 1972. The last Raja of Khaplu who lived in the house was Raja Fatah Ali Khan, who died in 1983. His son Raja Zakria died in 2020.[7]

^ a b Khawaja Jahan Zeb (July 2013). "Pakistan Tourism: Skardu – Baltistan" (PDF). .de.pk. Pakistan German Business Forum: 30–31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013. ^ a b "Serena Khaplu Palace". Serena Hotels Pakistan. Serena Hotels. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013. ^ Ashiq Faraz (28 July 2013). "Resurrecting an old Raja's palace". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 14 September 2013. ^ Jane Ellen Duncan (1906). A Summer Ride Through Western Tibet. Smith, Elder & Company. pp. 220–222. ISBN 978-1149011423. OCLC 457353027. ^ "Hatam Khan (ruler of Khaplu in Baltistan or Little Tibet)". Tibet Encyclopedia. International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 14 September 2013. ^ Cite error: The named reference Tibet Encyclopedia 2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Kathleen Cox (1990). Fodor's the Himalayan Countries: North Pakistan, North India, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal. Fodor's Travel Publications. p. 278. ISBN 978-0679017202.
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