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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Shangri-La: The Lost Mythical Kingdom

Shangri-La, a mythical Himalayan utopia isolated from the rest of the world, the habitat of immortal beings. 

Existence of suffering (dukhka), cause of suffering, craving and attachment (trishna), the path to the cessation of suffering, the “eightfold path” (right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration), and the end of suffering (nirvana), these are the fundamental doctrines of Buddhism.

Image: KitBash3D

They were believed to live following Buddhist teachings, in preparation for the people to be worthy of and be ready to be in a peaceful place. A kingdom behind the shadows of Crystal Mountains, reachable only through the ring of heights, full of amity and harmony and wisdom to humanity is unspoiled ready to save the world when desired. A place called Shangri-la.

Written by an English novelist, known to several best-sellers, like “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” and some Hollywood screenplays James Hilton. He Created a sought-after book which turned into a film (Shangri-la) directed by Frank Capra an Italian-American producer and writer, called Lost Horizon in 1933. 

Shangri-la was described as a fictional place in the book Lost Horizon, defined as a magical place gently lead from a lamasery a building comprising the domestic stations of monastics, monks or nuns. Enclosed in the western end of the longest mountain chains in Asia, the Kunlun Mountains, earthly heaven, a mythical Himalayan utopia- a happy habitation, isolated from the world.

People who live in Shangri-la are said to be almost immortal; they live hundreds of years beyond the expected lifespan, very gradually aging in appearance. 

Image: Ancient Origins

In ancient Tibetan accounts, seven such places were mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khembalung. One of the several Beyuls (hidden lands of valleys like Shangri-la, believed to be created by Padmasambhaya known as Guru Rinpoche, an 8th century master of India, making it to be one of the most ancient Tibetan myths.

Scholars claim that the story of Shangri-la owes its literary to Shambala, a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It also came to notice by the Europeans in the 1580s when travellers to the court of the Moghul Emperor Akbar heard of the blissful tales of the secluded Himalayan world. Though it was told in a Buddhist context and considered Tibetan, it appears to have been recorder first in India 962 AD.

Being the core concept of Tibetan Buddhist, it depicts the realm of concord between man and nature, which was also connected with the Kalachakra or the wheel of time.

A perfect dwelling place, waiting for the people, where one can find inner peace, love and a sense of purpose. If only this paradise does exist, everything could have been entirely in order.


One may need not to be in such land to be in bliss. Just have faith, sense of responsibility, sensibility and compassion and everything will follow.

By Kris De Vera Estrella, IFY Books

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