Just like every utopian place mentioned in the information bank, Shangri-La is one of the many places that capture the curiosity of ordinary people. While relatively many among educated individuals can at least distinguish it as a fictitious place, several other who often think outside the box acknowledges that such places are inspired by a real landscape.   

The Myth

This paradise in Asia could be anywhere. For the Chinese, the real Shangri-La is located between Yunnan province and Tibet in what is now known as the Kunlun Mountains. For the Mongolians, it is found in the southern valleys of Siberia. For the Indians, the real Shangri-La is the Sutlej Valley in Punjab. If there is any common denominator between these theories, it is that Shangri-La is a lush biosphere protected by highlands and predominantly inhabited by the wisest sages who withdrew from the chaotic and corrupt world.

The Facts

The myth about Shangri-La was popularized by James Hilton's 1939 novel "Lost Horizon." But preceding his fictitious take was an autobiography of a 16th Century Jesuit missionary serving as a foreign adviser in the court of Sultan Akbar (India). Antonio de Andrade has allegedly found a wealthy and peaceful community hidden in the Himalayas during his personal expeditions. His papers were republished in 1926 with the title "Discovery of Tibet."

Later on the Nazis, led by the SS head Adolf Himmler, made a voyage to the Himalayas seeking Shangri-La. Their aim was to find the origins of the venerated 'Aryan' (Indo-European) race.

In Popular Media

The "Discovery of Tibet" and "Lost Horizon" have breathed life into the renowned paradise in Asia. Now it has become a prevalent name for Asian-themed hotels and luxury resorts. Shangri-La also appeared in films like "The Shadow" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." The latest fictitious works derived from the myth about Shangri-La are first person shooter games like "Far Cry 4" and "Call of Duty: Black Ops."