Shangri la does not exist. Let’s start at the beginning: Shangri la is an imaginary paradisiac place invented in the novel “Lost Horizon” written by James Hilton in 1933.
Then China renamed Zhongdian to Shangri-La in 2001 to promote tourism, due to its similarity with the Shangri-La or the book.
Today’s Shangri-La is very close to Tibet, and the dominant ethnic group is actually Tibetans.
The road to Shangri-La
The Yangtze river
The Ancient Silk road – you can see it carved in the mountain flanks, caravans used to use this “road” to carry precious goods.
Furious waters – think about the size of a human being on the bridge in comparison.
Prayer flags bordering the lake close to Shangri La monastery
Life in Shangri-La
Visiting a Tibetan family: the great grandmother and the little one – most people live in traditional rural houses like this organized in 3 parts: one kitchen, one living place, one place for the horses.
The government is actually giving solar panels to all families in an effort to raise their standard of living (hot water, cell phone, TV…) but not compromise the environment – a very good initiative, i just wish we had the same in HK and Europe…
Every family also has a photo of Dalai Lama. Knowing how popular he is with Chinese government this is actually surprising.
Traditional fireplace – you can see the beds around for sleeping and eating.
Grand Ma is preparing some Salted Yak Butter Tea for me. And yes she has a cell phone and watches TV.
The local Buddhist Temple: very colorful, on top you can see the 2 deers watching over Buddha in his 6 years meditation. Together with Tibetan prayer flags incense filled tripod show a mix of different influences.
Nixi village black pottery specialty: