Khaplu village is locally well-known as Yabgo Khar meaning “The fort on the roof”. The palace is an old fort located in Khaplu in the Baltistan region of northern Pakistan. The palace is an architectural heritage and a tourist attraction. It was built in the mid-19th century, substituting an earlier fort located nearby. It served as a royal residence for the Raja of Khaplu.
The streets of Khaplu wind up a mild slope shaded under green leaves and spotted light. It’s a charming and permanent village of irregular shaped houses and walls that give way to tree trunks and branches. The hotel offers every modern luxury you need for a holiday while protective the historic architecture and cultural heritage of the palace. It was reinstated by the Aga Khan Foundation and then opened as a heritage boutique hotel managed by Serena Hotels in 2011, with the bulk of earnings going to development projects in the region.
Once the former seat of government and one of Baltistan’s Raja, Khaplu Palace has been re-established from a dire state of dilapidation. The work, carry out with a high level of technical competence, addressed many challenges from structural concerns to historic landscaping in a manner that has reserved the authenticity. The Palace has been reintegrated as an important part of the community through its new purpose as a small-scale heritage hotel and Balti Folk Museum. The upgrade of the adjacent village’s infrastructure and the establishment of new livelihood opportunities have ensured enhanced well-being for local inhabitants in this distant rural area. The project is evidence to the success of the well tested approach to mobilizing culture for sustainable development founded by the Agha Khan Cultural Services Pakistan. The palace has been awarded by UNESCO Asia Pacific award for “Cultural Heritage Conservation” in 2013.
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