Rugged horsemen ride like madmen across fields of wheat and barley. Golden spinning prayer wheels propel the script of the faithful up and away into the great azure. Ruddy-cheeked schoolchildren wander down dirt backroads past saffron-robed monks towards the sweet scent of yak-butter tea that permeates the air around their distant farm homes. Here their mothers await, weaving textiles, making butter and yogurt. These sacred hills around Shangri-La afford a unique glimpse into a relatively unspoilt corner of traditional Tibetan life, a fabled utopia.