Saturday, November 21, 2009

Morning Chai Family - where you live.

Zee's Notes: Every now and then I like to share with you a look at where all the visitors to Morning Chai come from and recently I added this feature - CLUSTRMAPS - which gives a visual of the cities and countries where Morning Chai visitors connect. So click on the map at the upper right hand and you will be taken to the map and listing...

So a huge thanks for being here...

Hunza Valley - Ismaili Shangri-La ?

Zee's Notes: The Gilgit-Baltistan area in Northern Pakistan has for centuries been of great geo-political interest and it also is home to the Hunza Valley. Straddling the borders of China, India and Afghanistan it is home to thousands of Ismailis and the serene land has been said to be the setting for the mythical kingdom of Shangri-La. Here's an interesting article on the current political landscape and the role of the people living there.

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. In the book, "Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly aging in appearance. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. In the ancient Tibetan scriptures, existence of 7 such places are mentioned as Nghe-Beyul Khimpalung. One of such places is mentioned to be situated somewhere in the Makalu-Barun region.

A popularly believed inspiration for Hilton's Shangri-La is the Hunza Valley in northern Pakistan, close to the Tibetan border, which Hilton visited a few years before Lost Horizon was published. Being an isolated green valley surrounded by mountains, enclosed on the western end of the Himalayas, it closely matches the description in the novel.

Reference : Wikipedia