Khaplu Palace Restoration
Khaplu, Pakistan
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

"Erected in the 19th century on a flat piece of land, the Khaplu Fort lies near an earlier mud fort constructed on a hill. The palace is one of the most magnificent 19th century buildings in the Northern Areas. A rectangular Baltistan palace plan type, it is constructed of stone masonry, reinforced with timber members and rendered in lime plaster.

Richly embellished with three storeyed timber balconies, verandahs screened with intricate perforated timber jalis (screens), carved timber posts, fascias and fenestrations end up making a magnificent symphony of solids and voids, shadow and light. The lintels, jambs and frames of most doors and windows are richly embellished. Khaplu Fort is a rectangular plan type with an inner small courtyard and a lager garden. Its courtyard is surrounded by a series of double rows of rooms -- enough rooms to have accommodated the Raja's and his family's residential needs, as well as accommodating stores, kitchens, stables etc. Both the inner and outer courtyards are planned and embellished with Mughal garden elements including still water pools, flowing water channels, eye-catching fountains and spectacular baradaris. The most intriguing element of the fort is its half-octagonal timber entrance, which transforms into a balcony at the second floor and a guest room at the third floor."

Source: Taken from Northern Areas Development Gateway Website. [Accessed April 22, 2005]

Khaplu Palace complex can be grouped into four main areas. The Palace (Yabgo Khar) is four storeys high including the basement, and has been used as a seat of governance, grain store and royal residence. From the outside, the building appears to be one structural unit but detailed examination of the internal structure suggests that it was built during a number of different construction phases. Its form and internal organization are strongly influenced by the Kashmiri manor-house typology, with rooms arranged in a rectangular grid around a central courtyard. Given its significance, the Palace is being treated as a Grade 1 listed building. Six rooms at the rear of the first and second floors are being adapted with minimum compromise of conservation standards, to provide guest suites with modern comforts. The more historically significant rooms at the front of the building that were used by the raja as living and reception spaces are being incorporated into an interpretative museum open to the public. 

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Khaplu, Pakistan
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Research and documentation: 2006
Inaugurated in 2011
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Raja's Palace
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