by snow-capped mountains, deep gorges and rushing rivers,
the beautiful land known as a Shangri-la nestles against
the edge of the Tibetan plateau. The name "Shangri-La"
was used in 1933 by the American novelist James Hilton
in his book Lost Horizon that depicts a land eternally
reigned by peace and tranquility. In Hilton's book,
Shangri-La was a fictitious land which was free from
the turmoil of the earthly world and had snowy mountains,
deep valleys, shining temples full of mysteries, calm
lakes surrounded by forests, and vast pastures with
grazing sheep and cattle. The Yunnan city of Zhongdian
evokes all the features in Hilton's book. Coincidentally,
Shangri-La is also a Tibetan word from the Diqing area
that refers to the most ideal place to live and the
noblest realm pursued by Tibetan Buddhists. In 1997,
officials in Yunnan Province declared that Shangri-la
is Zhongdian in the Diqing Tibetan Ethnic Minority Autonomous
Prefecture, which caused a worldwide sensation. With
the development of tourism, Zhongdian has become one
of the hottest tourist cities in China.
Zhongdian is the capital
of Diqing Tibetan Ethnic Minority
Autonomous Prefecture. It covers an
area of over 11,600 square kilometers,
resting 3,280 meters above sea level.
This area is the junction of Yunnan,
Sichuan and Tibet. The Balagengzong,
Haba and Langdu Mountains reach towards
the clouds, while the Jinsha (Golden
Sand) and Lancang (Mekong) Rivers
crisscross the landscape, flanked
by overhanging cliffs. Spring and
summer are the best seasons with moderate
temperatures, though the temperature
can vary greatly within the space
of one day. The average annual temperature
is 5.6 degrees Celsius, and the average
rainfall is 634mm.
is 120,000 with 13 ethnic minorities
including Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi, Yi,
Bai and Hui. These ethnic nationalities
preserve their own traditions of lifestyle,
dress, architecture, folklore, wedding
ceremonies and etiquette. This region's
people are very hospitable to visitors.
The government language is Mandarin.
The major religion here is Buddhism.
has been a vital transportation and
trading point between Yunnan, Sichuan
and Tibet. In 1933, James Hilton described
an eternally peaceful and quiet place
among mountains called Shangri-La
in his novel Lost Horizon. Two characters
in the novel survive a plane crash
and were taken to Shangri-La by local
people. They record their experience
in a civilization where people lived
up to more than one hundred years
old and lived peacefully and harmoniously
with the other people and animals.
According to actual historical records,
an American transport plane crashed
in the town of Zhongdian in 1944 while
flying the Sino-Indian air route.
Zhongdian Travel Attractions