Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, "Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, existence of 7 such places are mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khimpalung. One of such places is mentioned to be situated somewhere in the Makalu-Barun region.
In China, Tao Qian of the Jin Dynasty described a Shangri-La in his work Story of the Peach Blossom Valley. In modern China, the Zhongdian county was renamed to 香格里拉 (Shangri-La in Chinese) in 2001, to attract tourists. The legendary Kun Lun Mountains in Tibet offer other possible Shangri-La valleys. A popularly believed inspiration for Hilton's Shangri-La is the Hunza Valley in northern Pakistan, close to the Tibetan border, which Hilton visited a few years before Lost Horizon was published. Being an isolated green valley surrounded by mountains, enclosed on the western end of the Himalayas, it closely matches the description in the novel. A Shangri-La resort in the nearby Skardu valley is a popular tourist attraction. Today, various places claim the title, such as parts of southern Kham in southwestern Yunnan province, including the tourist destinations of Lijiang and Zhongdian. Places like Sichuan and Tibet also claim the real Shangri-La was in its territory.
Work for a Swiss company in Shanghai, East of Shanghai. Great passion for stamp, card and FDC collecting. Visited the Faroe Islands as lucky winner invited by Posta stamps. Do not hesitate to contact me if you'd like to swap with me.