When one thinks of Shangri La, one thinks of the movie from which the term came. Lost Horizon, created in 1937 or so, from the book by Robert Hilton of the same name, written in 1932, was a response to the ever increasing hostilities that were occurring in Europe, and, in a way, was a manifestation of the United State's general feeling of apathy and isolationism towards a possible future european conflict. Especially since America was still reeling from the great depression and World War I. The book/movie depicts a society in which war and conflict don't exist; nor do disease, or the ravages of old age. The setting occurred somewhere in the then (and now) mystical land of Tibet, where the people of Shangri La lived nestled amongst the harsh snow covered mountains of Tibet, deep in their warm, green, and tranquil valley. The local lamastery (monastery) housed the so-called rulers of Shangri La, and the villagers lived lower in the valley, where they could farm the fertile fields, and get water from the nearby lake.

People have tried to find the real Shangri La for decades. One of the closest places to this idealistic area, is Da Li.

With the Changsheng temple high up on the hill overlooking the ancient city of Da Li, the nearby great lake (in which is an island whose inhabitants, most of whom have never left the island, live in their own society with their own rules and customs), the surrounding snow covered mountains, and the fertile fields, Da Li is pretty idyllic, and reminiscent of the Shangri La depicted in the cinema. Only Li Jiang and Zhongdian come close.

But words can only tell so much. Pictures tell everything. Download times might be slow as the images are large.

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