Shangri-La, the utopian setting of James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon, has captured the world’s imagination. Since the book’s publication, travelers and writers have been trying to figure out if Shangri-La really exists, or if we just want it to.
Now, there is Michael Buckley’s new book, Shangri-La: A Travel Guide to the Himalayan Dream. It’s a guide to where Shangri-La may or may not be and also to Lost Horizon. Plus it has sidebars on such esoteric topics as tracking the Yeti in Bhutan and hockey in Ladakh.
Frank Bures of World Hum interviewed Buckley about the lure of the Himalayas and what we’re really looking for when we look for Shangri-La. Here is a excerpt from that interview:
World Hum: Apart from the satires, I’ve never seen a guidebook about a place that doesn’t exist. What prompted you to write this one?
Michael Buckley: There are a number of guidebooks to realms that may or may not exist—all the way from Dante’s “Inferno” to recent guidebooks to the “Da Vinci Code.” I mention those two because they have spiritual angles. Spiritual guidebooks you might call them. In Tibetan literature there are a number of guidebooks to Shambhala. I think the Shangri-La guidebook fits into this genre. There are a number of reasons for writing this guidebook—as a new way of looking at Tibetan culture in the Himalayas, and to examine the various claims made about discovery of the real Shangri-La.
To read the complete interview, visit the World Hum website.