Where is Shangri-La?

By Simon Chapman and D J Clark | China Daily | Updated: 2019-05-11 10:39
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The geographic and cultural locations in James Hilton's iconic novel may have remained a mystery for one simple reason

Shangri-La, something people know but can't define. Is it an earthly paradise? A hotel chain? A Chinese city or town? A Tibetan Utopia?

The word first appears in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon, written by English author James Hilton. It is described as some hidden valley with a lamasery overlooking it and a perfect snow-coned peak rising above, whose inhabitants have learned the secret of inner peace and extraordinary long life.

In the book, star English diplomat Hugh Conway and three others are kidnapped in a stolen airliner that takes them from Kabul to a crash landing in the Kunlun Mountains in Xinjiang of western China. Conway and his companions are rescued and taken to Shangri-La where each finds contentment though they are not free to leave.

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