Shangri-La is a mythical valley somewhere in the Himalayas, as imagined by James Hilton in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon. A Wikipedia entry describes;
“Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia – a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world… 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 seven such places… sacred places of refuge for Buddhists during times of strife.”
Shangri-La is also the new name for the Chinese town of Zhongdian. In an attempt to attract more tourists, the town on the cusp of the Himalayas was renamed in 2001 and the “quaint” Buddhist connection amped-up. I visited in 2012 to find a Disney-esque old town surrounded by some rather spectacular countryside – a traveller and photographer’s delight if you overlook the contrived “cultural exhibits”.