An 18-foot-long statue of Sengey Namgyal, the 17 Monarch of Ladakh, was inaugurated on Friday (1 November) as part of celebrations of newly-formed Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.
"In celebration of the recent UT status granted to Ladakh, Hemis Monastery is offering a new statue of King Sengey Namgyal to the people of the region," the Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the Drukpa Lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism, tweeted.
"This statue is a symbol of Ladakh's history, might, and identity in remembrance of its past as great kingdom along the Silk Road."
The statue was envisioned by the spiritual head in December 2017 and was carried forward by the Hemis Monastery.
The story of Sengey Namgyal has fascinating beginning.
When Ali Sher Khan Anchan also known as Ali Mir of Skardo imprisoned the then Ladakh Monarch Jamyang Namgyal during an expedition, the incident led to the confluence between these two kingdoms with the marriage of Jamgyang Namgyal and Gyal Khatun, the daughter of Ali Sher Khan.
This union gave birth to arguably the most powerful king of Ladakh, King Singge/Sengey Namgyal.
Singge Namgyal was an admirable leader and overcame several challenges faced by his ancestors with his military and diplomatic skills.
Moreover, he was also a great patron of arts and a strong adherent and proponent of Buddha Dhamma.
His contributions to art and architecture can be witnessed with the nine-storey rammed Leh Palace and a number of monasteries that were built all over Ladakh.
King Singge was also highly influenced by Lama Staktsang Repa, whom he referred to as, "the Patron Lama of Ladakhi Kingdom".
King Namgyal's patronage led to the establishment of the Hemis Monastery with 25 young students were brought from Baltistan to become monks at the monastery.
One of the most revered monasteries of Ladakh, Hemis Monastery raised funds for the 18-foot tall bronze statue of Singge Namgyal, which is placed at the prominent location of Skyrsags Chowk in Leh.
The man behind the masterpiece is the talented young Ladakhi artist Tsering Gyurmet.
A culmination of years of Gyurmet's hard work, the statue commemorates the contributions of Singge Namgyal in the unification of Ladakh and flourishment of its culture and heritage.
With Ladakh being declared a Union Territory on Thursday (31 October), the statue stands as a reminder to the people of Ladakh to regain their sovereignty and preserve their rich cultural identity.
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