Shangri-La – Zhongdian 中甸

IMG_5159
June 9th, 2013
|

Zhongdian County (中甸县 Zhōngdiàn Xiàn) was renamed in 2001 to Shangri-La (香格里拉 Xiānggélǐlā) after James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon to attract tourists. It is located 11,000ft above sea level

Shangrila is home to the huge Ganden Sumtseling Monastery (松赞林寺 Sōngzànlín Sì).

IMG_5095

IMG_5117

IMG_5135IMG_5138IMG_5145IMG_5148
IMG_5178IMG_5183

IMG_5167

A monk in the temple invited me onto the roof for some meditation. It was the most stunning day, and a beautiful 10 minutes.

IMG_5159

IMG_5204

IMG_5103

IMG_5131

IMG_5195

As became apparent throughout China, not all is what it seems at first glance. Here is a close up of the front wall which from afar looks quite grand. Actually, it is a very modern addition – not stone as it looks.

IMG_5205

The walk upto this amazing Tibetan temple takes you on a winding road through a small village which feels a world away from the other places we’ve visited.

IMG_5113

IMG_5107

There were these massive racks drying out mushrooms.
IMG_5100

Back in Shangri-La town, this temple has the worlds largest SPinning Golden Prayer Wheel.

IMG_5228

We walked up the side of Shangrila to the temple of 100 chcickens and found these graves which were fascinating and imposing, looking down over the town.

IMG_5254 IMG_5262 IMG_5279
IMG_5286


IMG_5270

IMG_5292IMG_5272

 Under the Chicken temple is a dark tunnel that leads underneath the main prayer hall. It has a couple of twists and turns and is said to be where the monks woud go to meditate and face their fears. Here is a photo before turning off (where it was pitch black).

IMG_5283

The view form the “chicken hill” is superb.

IMG_5276

It was amazing to see the locals in Shangrila educating underprivileged Tibetan teenagers authentic Tibetan art styles like Thangka as well as teaching them Mandarin and English in a school. They are also transforming Shangrila from rolling farmlands, into a large tourist destination in China.

IMG_5218

 

Leave a comment: