Khaplu Palace – The Last Tibetan-Style Palace in Pakistan

Khaplu Palace is also known as ‘Yabgo Khar‘ or ‘Raja Palace’ by locals. It is located in Khaplu, the administrative capital of district Ghanche in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. This beautiful palace was built in 1840. Yabgo Raja Daulat Ali Khan made this Palace with the help of Local and Kashmiri laborers.

This palace was made in the Architectural style of Balti, Tibetan, and Ladakhi style. Yabgo Khar is considered as an architectural heritage by UNESCO and has won many awards. The Raja of Khaplu lived in this palace and it served as the royal residence.

In the past, the rulers throw a rolling large stone down from the nearest mountain. The palace was built on that place where the stone stopped. For over 100 years the ruler of Khaplu used to seat this palace. In 1983 the last Raja of Khaplu Raja Fatah Ali Khan died in this palace and then the downfall of this palace started.

Location of Khaplu Palace

The Khaplu Valley is located in the Baltistan division and 2600 meters above sea level in the district of Ghanche Gilgit Baltistan. Khaplu palace is located in Doqsa, a place in Khaplu north of the valley. In the front, the high mountains of the Karakoram range are located. A trek will go to Pari district Kharmang from behind this beautiful palace.

History of Khaplu Palace

The beautiful Khaplu palace was built by Yabgo Dolat Ali Khan (Khaplu King) in 1840. The current Yabgo Palace located in Doqsa was chosen by throwing a rolling Stone from a nearby mountain.
According to history, the people Khaplu were not allowed to make a house outside the fort, they lived inside the fort. The Raja of Khaplu continued to live in after their Kingdom was finished. Raja Fatah Ali Khan was the last king of Khaplu who lived in this Palace and died in 1983. His Son whose name is Raja Zakria died in 2020.

The Architecture of Khaplu Palace

The Khaplu Palace was built by the locals with the help of Kashmiri and Ladakhi laborers. This Palace is a mixture of Balti, Ladakhi, Kashmiri, and Tibetan architecture.
This beautiful and old palace has four floors and it is made with clay, timber, and mud bricks. The main entrance of the Palace was put up with a wooden gate that was taken from the fort of Skardu by Yabgo Hatim Khan. On the top floor, a hall is made that is used as a leisure room to look at the beautiful Moutain Range of Karakoram. Some other rooms include (Chogo Rafsal) which means a Big Guest Room, a Big Balcony, a Princess room, and a room for the Queen of Khaplu. Currently, the palace is used as a Hotel, operated by Serena, and a Museum.

Renovation of Khaplu Palace

In the year of 2005 with the help of the Government of Norway, the renovation started and ended in 2011. This was the second fort in Baltistan that was renovated by AKTC. The USAID was funded to build an exhibition center inside the fort. Through this renovation, more than 400 local families were employed which is a good initiative towards community building. More than 30 million Rupees amounted to the material produced and the laboures wages is around 25M rupees.


The Khaplu Palace won many awards for heritage. In 2012, Khaplu Palace won an award for the project “poverty reduction’ category. The award named as Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award. The UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards was won by this palace in 2013.
Some famous Pakistani dramas were also shot at this Palace. Drama serial Deyar e Dil is one of those dramas that was shot at Yabgo Khar.

More Information

NameYabgo Khar, Khaplu Palace
TypeMuseum, Hotel, Palace
Architectural styleBalti, Tibetan, Ladakhi
Location of PalaceKhaplu-16800, Ghanche District, Gilgit-Baltistan
Elevation2,600 metres (8,500 ft)
OwnerSerena Hotels (2005–present)
Floor count5
Awards and prizes Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award (2012)
UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards (2013)
Renovating firmAga Khan Trust for Culture
Khaplu Palace