Shangri-la Found!
From: allenbutcher (
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 16:45:00 -0600 (MDT)
In case anyone finds this inspiring:

Saw recently a PBS special about some explorers/anthropologists finding
the historic site of Shangri-la.  They went looking to see if they could
find if the myth was based on the existence of some lost city and found a
site, in remote Tibet or maybe it was Nepal, I don't remember now, north
of the Himalayas.  They found a valley where they expected, that was an
extensive human habitation.  What is left is some stone work and many,
many caves with soot-blackened ceilings, dug into horseshoe-shaped or
bowl-shaped ridges.  They discussed how extensive wooden steps, ladders,
platforms and boardwalks must have connected the many caves carved into
the steep ridges.  Living there must have been much like living in a
highrise quadrangle today, with all the cave fronts looking out onto the
common valley below.  

Obviously, it was once a fertile region, now totally eroded.  Mostlikely,
like other ancient civilizations, they exceeded the carrying capacity of
the land and it deteriorated to the arid landscape shown on the special. 
The time-period they suggested for this civilization was about 2,000
years ago or longer, I don't remember exactly.

They mentioned that there was a religion, the name of which I do not
recall--it was totally unfamiliar to me, that was practiced, and is still
somewhat remembered today, in that region of Tibet/Nepal before Buddism
arrived.  They postulated that Shangri-la was based on that religion, and
that it had tenets that supported the concept of positive ideals, such
that Shangri-la became known as the perfect society or very good place,
as we still use the name/term today.

Interesting how the reputation of a society carries on through time long
after people leave.


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