by Adrian Gallo
The city of Zhongdian at 3200m above sea level, was recently renamed “Shangri-la” by the Chinese government, according to the imaginary location of Shangri-la (which means paradise) described by James Hilton in his book “Lost Horizon.”
The influence of the Tibetan minority is very present. The architecture, temples and women’s fuchsia turbans are very characteristic. The buildings of the new city are unsightly but they are very colorful.
The old town is very pretty. It is made of large, elaborately carved wooden houses and cobbled streets that are very pleasant. Many restaurants have made their home here, and shops will offer you yak leather accessories, fabrics, jewelry and other delights.
Sink into the streets of the old town to discover ancient dwellings and daily life. In the central square, you can join the men and women of all ages to dance to the rhythms of Tibetan music. This moment of relaxation takes place every evening at 20h00, so do not hesitate to go dancing – it’s well worth the trip!
In the south of the old town you can visit a small temple facing the mill. On top of a hill, the huge golden monument is operated throughout the day by Buddhists. Also enjoy the view over the rooftops of the old town.