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The Heart of the World

Journeys to the Last Secret Places

The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. Ancient Tibetan prophecies have declared that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Several failed and fatal attempts to find this waterfall left explorers to believe this mysterious sanctuary was nothing but a fantasy. Ian Baker was determined to defy the odds and discover the Tsangpo Gorge despite doubt.

After several years of encountering dangerous terrains, sheer cliffs, impassable white water, and dense jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Ian Baker and his team of explorers reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding the 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike. In this series, Ian Baker travels again to be the first to uncover two more hidden sanctuaries, as told by the Shangri-la ancient myths. Along his journey, Baker explores the semi-immortal powers of Burmese Alchemy, Greek Galenic Medicine dating back to the Roman Empire, the mysticism of earthly paradise, and the sacred, spiritual powers of the Mandala.

The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery —an extraordinary journey to some of the wildest and most inaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.


About the show

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HD PG-13

About Ian Baker

Ian Baker is a Himalayan and Buddhist scholar and author of seven books on Tibetan cultural history, environment, art, and medicine including The Heart of the World, The Tibetan Art of Healing, The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple, and the forthcoming Tibetan Yoga: Secrets from the Source. He is a fellow of The Explorers Club and was recognized by National Geographic Society as one of seven ‘Explorers for the Millennium’ for his ethnographic and geographical field research in Tibet’s Tsangpo Gorge and his team’s discovery of a waterfall that had been the source of myth and geographical speculation for more than a century. He is an executive board member of Himalayan Consensus Institute and works internationally as a consultant and lecturer in environmental and cultural heritage conservation. From 2013 to 2016 he worked for London’s Wellcome Trust as curator of an exhibition of Himalayan art entitled ‘Tibet’s Secret Temple: Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism’, to which he contributed both film and photography from Bhutan and Tibet.

Additional information is available on his website www.ianbaker.com

Season 1

Episode list coming soon.