According to ancient Tibetan and central Asian legends there is a kingdom hidden away in the inaccessible craggy peaks of central Asia in the region of the Altai and Himalayan Mountains. This mythical kingdom is called Shambhala by the people of Central Asia. The legend tells us how the Buddha gave the Kalachakra to a group of yogis in India. This knowledge was hidden for 1000 years, until it emerged in Tibet in the 11th century, CE. Since this time, myths and legends of Shambhala have been known by the people of Tibet and Central Asia.
Texts found in Tibet describe Shambhala as an eight-petaled lotus - comprised of eight regions, each surrounded by a ring of mountains. According to these myths, tt the center lies the capital of Kalapa. Kalapa is surrounded by glowing crystalline mountains of ice. It was prophesied that there shall be 32 kings of Shambhala, each ruling for 100 years. As their reigns pass the outside world will begin to decay. Men shall arise who will seek power for evil and selfish means. An iron serpent will emerge and encircle the Earth. When those who follow this new materialist ideology are united under an evil king, they shall conquer the known world until they think that there is nothing left. At this critical moment the mists will lift to reveal the icy crags of Shambhala. The 'Evil Ones' will attack Shambhala equipped with weapons of destruction. The 32nd king of Shambhala, Rudra Cakrin, shall then make the invaders tremble. In the final battle, the evil king and his followers shall be vanquished.
THese legends hold that Shambhala is said protected by a "psychic" barrier. Those who attempt to sojourn to Shambhala unwanted are swallowed by crevasses or buried in avalanches. Only those warriors who are ready and have received the "call" to Shambhala may proceed to this sacred land.
Nicholas Roerich, artist and philosopher,while journeying through central Asia, learned of the legends of Shambhala and chronicled them in written works and in his paintings. Shambhala: the Resplendent, Altai-Himalaya, and Heart of Asia. chroncile this obscure Central Asian mythology.
Roerich writes the following, in Shambhala, the Resplendent:
“When you are told that the shortest way is through Shambhala, through Kalachakra, it means that achievement is not an unattainable ideal, but that it is something which may be attained through sincere and industrious aspiration here, upon this very earth and in this incarnation. This is the Teaching of Shambhala...But to attain this, a man must dedicate himself entirely to creative labor. Those who work with Shambhala, the initiates and the messengers of Shambhala, do not sit in seclusion - they travel everywhere...they perform their works, not for themselves, but for the great Shambhala...Thus when you dedicate yourselves to Shambhala, everything is taken and everything is given to you...essentially the Teaching of Shambhala lies in this - that we do not speak of something distant and secreted. Therefore, if you know that Shambhala is here on earth; if you know that everything may be achieved here on Earth, then everything must be rewarded here on earth....” (Roerich, Shambhala, 29-30)
Thus for Roerich and many Central Asians, Shambhala represents an ideal collective of humanity, to which the individual can attain. Shambhala is sometims called "Shangri-La" or spelled differently: Shambala.