Monday, March 16, 2009
In Search of Myths and Heroes: The Search for Shangri-la - BBC - Michael Wood
Over the last twenty years, Michael Wood has captivated readers and viewers alike with his romantic journeys into the past from In Search of the Trojan Wars to his epic journeys in In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great and The Conquistadors.
In this compelling TV series, In Search of Myths and Heroes, Michael goes in search of four of our most powerful myths, one of which is Shangri-la.
The Search for Shangri-la
Wood's search for Shangri-La takes him on a thrilling trek through India, Nepal and Tibet. The tale of the magical hidden valley of Shangri-La was popularized in the 1930s by James Hilton in his novel, Lost Horizon. But, the story of a lost kingdom behind the Himalayas free from war and suffering is descended from a much older Indian myth. When Europeans first caught wind of the tale back in the 16th Century, they set about trying to discover it.
To find the truth behind the legend, Michael follows their track on foot through the Maoist controlled lands of Western Nepal and then on into Tibet. On the way he visits Mount Kailash — the sacred center of the world for all Hindus and Buddhists. Eventually, after hundreds of miles on dirt roads, he reaches the fantastic ruins of the lost city of Tsaparang, which he suggests is the real inspiration behind the myth. "One of the oldest myths of humanity, the paradise myth continues to haunt us today, especially in our time of rapid globalization," Wood concludes. "Whether such a paradise actually existed or not, it represents one of our most basic human desires."
The present Dalai Lama says this about Shambhala:
Nowadays, no one knows where Shambala is. Although it is said to exist, people cannot see it, or communicate with it in an ordinary way. Some people say it is located in another world, others that it is an ideal land, a place of the imagination. Some say it was a real place, which cannot now be found. Some believe there are openings into that world which may be accessed from this. Whatever the truth of that, the search for Shambala traditionally begins as an outer journey that becomes a journey of inner exploration and discovery.
Thanks to mytvblog for the links.
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