Is this man the King of Ladakh?

Image of the King taken at the Ladakh marathon in 2008
Image of the King taken at the Ladakh marathon in 2008

The Great Tibetan Marathon, the annual marathon that takes place in Ladakh, was flagged off by the King of Ladakh when the 2008 edition took place. Or at least that’s who the chief guest was identified as by the organizers.

I assumed this person to be the current ‘King’ till something strange came up while I was sorting the photos I took at the Stok Palace. The chronological order of the rulers from this family listed the last three as:

37. dKun-bzang rNam-rgyal, 1925-1974
38. Jig-med dbang-chuk rNam-rgyal, 1966-
39. bStan-rdzin Jig-med rNam-rgyal, 1997-

The list shows the last two surviving generations as born in 1966 and 1997. How old does this man in the picture look to you? Certainly not someone born in either 1996 or 1997. So who is he? I am not sure, and I don’t have the answers. But I certainly will investigate further when I return to Ladakh.

Or can appearances be deceptive?

A quick note of the King: The Namgyal dynasty came into power in Ladakh in 975 AD and ruled the region before they were overthrown. But they have traditionally been allowed to retain their title and the Stok Palace near Leh but have long ceased to have any real powers.

Poster showing list of rulers since 975 AD. Click on it to see larger size.
Poster showing list of rulers since 975 AD. Click on it to see larger size.
A close up of the lower part of the list with most recent names. Click on it to see larger size.
A close up of the lower part of the list with most recent names. Click on it to see larger size.
The King flagging off the Ladakh marathon
The King flagging off the Ladakh marathon
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3 COMMENTS

  1. I know the present king of Ladakh. He is Jigmet namgyal also know to his friends and Jiggy. He still lives with his family at Stok palace and runs Namgyal institute. This man in the pic is certainly not him.

  2. the man who flagged the ladakh marathon is present kings uncle,often called the king or kingfather.the present king was born in 1966 and his son the crown prince in 1997,so there is a slight printing mistake in the list of kings of ladakh.

  3. Ajay Jain, when in Ladakh trust the Ladakhis.
    They know who is their king, so how can you look at a piece of paper or count wrincles on a photo? This is indeed the man called “king of Ladakh”.
    I am not sure about the details but he is the son of the former king indeed. He was not supposed to get the “king” title but his brother, who got the title, did not begot a son, so this nobleman, Thinle Namgyal, who was a monk, disrobed and took the duty of a layman. He passed in 2010 or 2011 I think. He was a very serious and devoted Dharma practitioner, and as such always kept low profile.

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