Is Shangri-La A Real Place?



James Hilton was simply dreaming of a place that humans have yearned for since they I learned to yearn a heaven of sorts a Paradise Utopia Xanadu the garden of Eden Shambala Hilton a popular writer in the first half of the twentieth century named his Happy Place Shangrila and he made at wondrous in spiritual talking it high into the mountains in northwest Tibet. It was setting of his nineteen thirty three adventure. Novel lost horizon which instantly became a worldwide bestseller. It was also made into a major Hollywood film. The legendary Frank CAPRA directed and Ronald Colman Jane Wyatt starred in Nineteen thirty seven from the moment lost horizon hit bookstore shelves Shangri la became synonymous with utopia back. Then it was an ideal a place to escape to during a time when the real world had just been through a global war in the Great Depression since then the simple idea of the place has sparked countless trips. Tibet journeys of faith and perseverance of hope and distant. Promise of supposed enlightenment and sometimes disappointment. It's kind of an amazing phenomenon considering that the place doesn't exist and it never has except for ten years or so when what's now called Camp David. The presidential retreat was founded under the name Shangrila by then President Franklin Roosevelt in nineteen forty two. Or at least that was the only time it's existed until recently but let's start at the beginning. Hilton reportedly did most of the research for his novel in the British Museum Library not far from his home in the northeastern part of London. He never actually visited Tibet. Instead he took inspiration for Shangri la from another utopian dream a place known for centuries as Shala we spoke with Ed Birnbaum who lectures on comparative religion mythology and wrote the way to Shambala in nineteen eighty. He said there was one. Sort of very very garbled version of the Shambala myth that Hilton Red and one of the Catholic explorers writings. But it wasn't an all clear. It was the sort of universal theme and at that time. Tibet was pretty much unexplored. So if you're going to look for hidden utopia that was an ideal place to do it. Shala is a Tibetan Buddhist legend about a Utopian Paradise far in the Northern Mountains of Asia. It said to be a spiritual place where people of all religions and backgrounds live together in harmony and also said to be the place from which when Warren Evil Engulf the rest of the world. A leader will emerge to defeat the forces of chaos and usher in a new age of peace and happiness. Shambala grows out of the Buddhist Teaching College Chakra or the wheel of time which states that the center of the universe. Mount Meru sometimes called Mount Subaru. Set to be well. North of Tibet. Birnbaum said people sort of looked at Tibet as this mysterious Utopian kind of place and the Tibetans themselves looked even farther north for that. Utopia Shambala if Hilton who died in nineteen fifty. Four was indeed modeling Shangri la after the Buddhist teachings of Shambala. It might paint him to learn what's happened to his imaginary wonderland because it's become real but not an particularly Buddhist way in two thousand one the Chinese government which is controlled. Tibet since late nineteen fifties changed the name of Zhongdian County to Shangri la for simple purpose to cash in on tourist dollars. Many areas and China had been vying for the right to change their names. Shangri la and took nearly a decade to decide on a winner. Zhongdian one out in. What the Guardian in two thousand six called one of the most day. She's rebranding exercises in history. Today the larger area Shangrila boasts say Shangrila resort a Hilton Garden Inn Shangrila and airport with daily flights to Beijing Shanghai and Lhasa. The capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region in the heart of what Westerners now as Tibet visitors can tour the largest Betton Buddhist monastery in Yunan province. And when they're done they can cough down. Abreu at the Shangri la beer bar tagline beer made in heaven Tibet and the newly named Shangri la a draw for reasons other than tourist traps. Of course Tibet is known. After all is the roof of the world it shares the highest peak in the World Mount Everest with neighboring Nepal. Though that's a long way from Shangri La. The area's natural beauty is breathtaking. Which makes it a destination for outdoor levers. That's especially popular with Chinese tourists. It's harder for Westerners to secure visas to get there. But is this the Shangri La that James Hilton envisioned? Is What modern travelers expect. That it seems is probably up to the pilgrim. Birnbaum said there are different ways of going to Shambala to me what I found most interesting was the symbolism of it sort of reflects an inner journey

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