Shangrila Resort: A popular Pakistani haven
The idyllic place is the inspiration for James Hilton's Lost Horizon. The spot is one of the most popular destinations in Pakistan
In the extreme north of Pakistan, Skardu the central valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, is an epitome of beauty, serenity and wilderness. Located at a drive of about 20 minutes from Skardu, Shangrila is also called the 'Heaven on Earth'.
The resort, built next to Kachura or Shangrila Lake, was the brainchild of Brig. (Retd) Muhammad Aslam Khan of Pakistan Army at at a height of 2,500 meters.
Shangri-La is a fictional place described by author James Hilton in the 1933 novel "Lost Horizon." It is described as a harmonious, peaceful, and isolated place, which was inspired by the mythical Buddhist kingdom of Shambhala.
It is undisputed that Hilton visited the Northern valleys of Pakistan a couple of years before publishing his book. Nevertheless, the exact location remains unknown, and one can only speculate which place in the Greater Himalayan Region was the main inspiration for his depiction.
Shangrila cushioned between some of the world's highest peaks. The small heart-shaped lake set in a narrow valley between partially snow-covered peaks also sets the scene for a fantastic resort. The resort sits rather forlorn in the undoubtedly beautiful valley.
Shangrila is situated in the northern areas of Pakistan. This region has some of the finest Tourism attractions in the world such as K-2 (8,611 metres), second highest peak on earth; Deosai Plains, the longest, widest and highest plateau in the world; the fast flowing River Indus, which starts from Ladakh and snakes its way through the Karakoram and Himalayan ranges, along picturesque valleys, glaciers, natural wild life, forests and historical monuments, dating back thousands of years and across the country into the Arabian sea.
The resort comprises of two buildings of mock-Chinese architecture, as well as an airplane, which once served as a restaurant. The airplane is a reference to Hilton's depiction of a plane that crash-landed at Shangri-La - makes the unusual sight of Far East Asian architecture in Pakistan even stranger.