Shangri-La is often used in a similar context to "Garden of Eden", to represent a paradise hidden from modern man. It is sometimes used as an analogy for a lifelong quest or something elusive that is much sought. For a man who spends his life obsessively looking for a cure to a disease, such a cure could be said to be that man's "Shangri-La". It also might be used to represent perfection that is sought by man in the form of love, happiness, or Utopian ideals. It may be used in this context alongside other mythical and famous examples of somewhat similar metaphors such as The Holy Grail, El Dorado and The Fountain of Youth.
Various states, geographically and politically isolated from the West, have been termed Shangri-Las. These include Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Tuva, Mongolia, the Tocharian Tushara Kingdom of the Mahābhārata, and the Han Dynasty outpost Dunhuang.
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