Nicholas Roerich--prolific artist and writer, renowned philosopher, educator, and explorer--relates the remarkable encounters and events of his travels through central Asia and Tibet at the turn of the century. Through his detailed diary notes and the chronicling of legends and parables, he reveals the many facets of the tale of Shambhala, the long-awaited realization of paradise on earth. In Western mythology, Shambhala appears as the mythic land of Shangri-la. In the prophecies of the East, it is seen as both a physical place and the dawning of a New Era of enlightened consciousness. Roerich found signs of the imminent arrival of Shambhala at every juncture of his journey--in the legends of local villagers and within their rock paintings and engravings. In keeping with the ancient traditions, Roerich felt that Shambhala would be attained not inevitably or without effort, but only as a result of "the Noblest and most intensive activity." A living example of this philosophy, he worked unceasingly for peace through culture, believing that "obstacles are only new possibilities to create beneficent energy." Chapters on Tibetan art, the desert cities, subterranean dwellers, and the Great Mother give the reader crystalline glimpses of Roerich's manifold vision and the vast panorama of his life journey toward a new age of human achievement.