Shangra La

Apr 18, 2007
Just by luck caught a show last night on the Travel Channel about the Sky Caves of Nepal. Was too much fluff as in everything these days, but still some pretty good stuff. Probably be reruns.

No mention of manuscripts. Mostly it was about going into the Mustang region, supposedly where no Westerner had ever been. As I said mostly fluff, but some good photography mixed in.
That was a cool show! I enjoyed it. Id love to climb up to them caves! The script on the walls (red and white) was not Devanagari. Didnt even look Nagari? Must have been some pretty old stuff. They were talking like only 500 years ago or so but it sure looked older. Maybe Tibetan? Beats me but didnt look chinese either? I was hoping they were going to tell us how they made that Nepali moonshine! Prolly fermented buffalo milk or something like the Mongolians do with Yak milk? I forgot what they called it?
After watching that old movie about Shangri La, Lost Horizons, umpteen years ago, that place has always meant a mystical, magical place for me. What a swell place to dream about.
One of the guys (looked like the lost Allman Brother) said he thought they were mostly abandoned about 500 years ago. Also the caves were probably a pilgrimage destination. Styles of paintings were from all over central Asia. I'm not an archeologist, I'm a miner & I'm of the opinion the Mustang caves would have been long gone by the time 500 years had passed. The cliffs weren't solid strata, looked to be a type of loose composite. That stuff erodes very fast & is a nightmare to work around.

It was sedimentary rock which is old stream deposits. Yes it is very hard climbing. Lots of loose rounded cobbles and very dangerous to the guy under you. Hardhats mandatory. Im pretty sure there are plenty of old monasteries still in caves on the Tibet side that may even be older but many have been inhabited ever since?
Lets go there Bookie:thumbup: Ill go first! You can have the hardhat;)
Forget that, bring the chopper and we'll fast rope in. Gravity is our friend.
Kamidog, we gotta have this little talk--just as soon as I get this humongous pattern welded Bowie knife set up.....
Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

The old Mongol capital of Genghiz Khan was called Khan Baligh. Over time, it was lost -- the Mongols were not fond of fixed abodes. The memory of the name changed in the different languages that followed. Khan Baligh to Shambala to Shangri-la to Xanadu.

These stories of a magical place did the brutal tyrant more honor than he deserved.
Kamidog, we gotta have this little talk--just as soon as I get this humongous pattern welded Bowie knife set up.....
Okee Dokkie! Want to do somethin Texan to it? I could go get ya some dirt from the Alamo. Maybe some mesquite wood?
There really is a place by that name. In the old Tibetan land of Kham, now Yunnan Provence, PRC. It was christened thus recently to promote tourism, but it really is an old Tibetan city. The Han Chinese pronounce it San ga li la.

The land of Kham was known for its stout inhabitants. Burly Khampa monks used to protect the Dalai Lama back when he lived in Tibet. Horse riding and archery are still local tourist attractions, as well as the big old monastery. The Khampas are still a bit rough, and it pays to keep one's wits about one while traveling there. There is still a tradition of handforged knives in the Tibetan style, and the ancient custom of carrying them is permitted in the PRC for Tibetans, as they are a recognized ethnic group with some special privileges. The knives are rarely seen and when they are the observer probably wishes they were not there.

Red Flower and I asked where we could get some tsampa when we were there and the lady who was guiding us came baclk with a couple of kilos of premixed. It lasted us several days through subsequent travels and gave a unique Tibetan flavor to the world.