This army sent scouts to find the mythical city of Shangri La

An earthly paradise, a place of unimaginable beauty, a breathtaking community cut off from the rest of the world could best describe the mythical city of Shangri La. As James Hilton, a British author imagines, Shangri La is a hilly utopia where people live in harmony with less likelihood of aging quickly

Similar to other mythical places like Atlantis and objects like the Holy Grail, Shangri La has often earned the name of “Eden in a dream”. For thousands of years, the history of this earthly paradise has been a lingering theme across different peoples and languages. It describes a place where humans live in harmony with nature and the wisdom of the planet is passed down from generation to generation.

According to sources, the inhabitants of this mythical city have lived for centuries, are safe from materialism and Western influence. With different scripts to reference, the novel of The Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton is very much inspired by Tibetan myth. Ever since Europe heard of this city in the 1580s, travelers have sailed east in search of the mythical utopia.

Zhongdian in Yunnan. (Wikimedia Commons)


The mythical city of Shangri La first appears in a publication by the English novelist James Hilton in 1933. Set in a perilous period before World War II, the screenplay tells the story of a community of Tibetan lamas cut off from the rest of the world. world and a “normal time”. . “At a glance, all the wisdom of the human race is contained in this area, and the cultural elements are kept in people’s minds even in the face of impending disaster.

Not only did Hilton’s screenplay strike a chord, but the book also enjoyed immense popularity that crossed the West. The popularity was so great that the US president’s retreat at Camp David was called Shangri La. Also called the epicenter of China’s biodiversity, Shangri La is a World Heritage Site covering a huge expanse of parallel gorges in three of the largest rivers of Asia. Despite welcoming a large number of tourists, the region is so vast that it is easy to get away from it all.

For a mythical place accentuated with such perfection, its admiration perhaps hides in gaps as to its location. Although it is said to exist, people cannot see or communicate with its inhabitants in a normal way. While some people argue that Shangri La is in another world, some argue that it was initially a real place that disappeared from the universe. Whatever the case, the search for this mythical city is usually an outer exploration that begins with an inner discovery and exploration.

An expedition financed by the Nazis

This army sent scouts to find the mythical city of Shangri La
Members of the expedition with hosts in Gangtok, Sikkim are (left to right) unknown, Tibetan unknown, Bruno Beger, Ernst Schäfer, Sir Basil Gould, Krause, Tibetan unknown, Karl Wienert, Edmund Geer, unknown, unknown. (Wikimedia Commons)

Endless human talent for adventure coupled with an attraction to such a beautiful world led to his own 1938 Nazi expedition. Like something out of an Indiana Jones movie, the Nazis searched for many myths of pagan origin. Many visitors took with them idealized imaginations of Tibet but excluded the search for the mythical city – because it is not real. The name of Shangri La ignited the same passions and this expedition aimed above all to find the “Aryan” race in northern Tibet.

With the agreement of the Tibetan government, the expedition involved a team of German scientists, anthropologists and zoologists. In what appeared to be an attempt to establish friendly relations with Tibet, the expedition was more focused on finding the mythical Aryans. German scientists have examined the skulls of more than 300 Tibetans and killed wild animals much to the chagrin of locals. The British later referred to this research as a “drunken hunt” because it led to the wiping out of countless birds and animals.

Accidental natural beauty

While the city itself is fictional, the location described in the book is actually stunning. The desire to visit this land of perfection has been so powerful that people still probably view the mythical place as something extraordinary. Although some people argue that Hilton was inspired by the writings of National Geographic Magazine, the mountain of East Asia has turned into a real tourist destination. Like how the Garden of Eden lost its beauty when sin separated mankind from the Creator. While Tibetan Buddhists lead a good life for centuries, this advantage weighs on the locals. The wrinkles and altered skin of the mountain dwellers embody the difficulties of survival in this difficult environment. At the same time, high altitudes accelerate the aging process, and children born in these regions are at high risk of contracting heart disease. Due to Hilton’s painted illusion of a joyful and harmonious faith-driven environment, many people fail to notice the spiritual influences hidden in the actual location of the Lost City of Shangri La.

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