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A caravan to the Shangri-la

On the Tibetan Marches between the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan, a traditional caravan of horses and mules left for three weeks to meet the myth of Shangri-la and the explorers of the last century who inspired it. A nostalgic journey to lost horizons.

In 1999, during my first visit to Shangri-la, formerly Zhongdian, a living Buddha friend told me about this hidden territory up there, going towards the valleys between Muli and Litang; a lost country located in the Tibetan Kham, in the province of Sichuan. Over there, he told me, the rivers let gold flow, where nature is synonymous with savagery dotted with mountains with hieratic summits, where men faithful to their traditions live detached from the world. Like a buried treasure, I let this dream of discovery hover. June 2020, after this long period of confinement which has affected the whole world, China experiences a respite from the Covid-19 epidemic, a truce, thus leaving us the possibility of leaving for three weeks on mule tracks in search of these hidden territories. We are accompanied by a solid caravan made up of twelve mules and three horses, distributing a load of around 900 kilos on their saddles.

Every morning, for half an hour, the 900 kilos of equipment distributed in boxes and bags, are harnessed on the mules. Thomas Goisque

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