THE PALACE AT STOK has been the residence of the Namgyals, the former rulers of Ladakh, since its independence in 1843. Part of the palace has been converted into a fine museum of the dynasty and its history. Its collections include a set of 35 thangkas representing the life of the Buddha, said to have been commissioned by the 16thcentury king, Tashi Namgyal. Images and ritual religious objects, such as the bell and dole (thunderbolt), are of unsurpassed workmanship. Secular objects include fine jade cups, the queens’ jewellery, including a spectacular headdress, the kings’ turbanshaped crown, and ceremonial robes. There is also a sword with its blade twisted into a knot, said to have been contorted by the enormous strength of Tashi Namgyal.