From Beijing I winged westward to Xinjiang Province to continue my search for traces of the legendary kingdom of Shambhala.
I planned to visit both Khotan, on the southern rim of the Tarim Basin, and Turpan, on the northern rim of the Basin. First, however, I stopped over in Lanzhou, in Gansu Province, to pay my respects to the peripatetic 7th century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (603-664) who had stopped briefly in Lanzhou while on his way to India, an epic 15 year trip during which he visited both Khotan and Turpan. See More Photos of Lanzhou.
Xuanzang (right), with his faithful guide and servant Sandy (left). Although Xuanzang only stayed in Lanzhou one night in 629 A.D. before crossing the Yellow River and heading west the city has immortalized his visit with this statue. Xuanzang’s epic journey served as the inspiration for the immense novel Journey to the West, one of the classics of Chinese literature.