From Jan Lamprecht´s book, Hollow Planets, on Tibet-
Amazing tales emanated from Tibet. There were strange stories from
this land which was ruled by the Priest hood and whose Priests had
strange powers. There were some Westerners who decided to go sneaking
through this country to see what was really going on. It is to these
extremely hardy and dedicated individuals that we owe our
descriptions of Tibet before the Communist Chinese came and enslaved
that nation, and destroyed its priest hood.
One of these travellers was a German, Theodore Illion. Illion tackled
the task of sneaking through Tibet with typical Germanic
thoroughness. In 1932 he began planning his trip. He left Germany in
1934 and returned in 1936 whereupon he wrote his Ratfelhaftes Tibet.
Illion could speak Tibetan fluently. He intended travelling in
disguise. He planned to dress and behave like a Tibetan. He was to
find that the ignorance of the common people was great and this
helped him considerably in pulling this stunt off. The Lamas were
however cleverer, and he did not fool them as easily. In their
presence he would pretend to be deaf and dumb. Once in Tibet he was
sometimes found out. But he was also fortunate enough to make friends
with some of the Lamas who saw no harm in assisting him even though
this was forbidden.
Since Tibet is a mountainous desert there was little point in taking
beasts of burden with him. Sometimes one could travel hundreds of
miles without seeing a single blade of grass. So Illion began
practising the normal mode of travel in Tibet walking. He began
walking long distances. Then he began spending freezing nights in
northern Scandinavia at many degrees below zero.'
Illion's experiences in Tibet led him to believe that the Tibetans
over exaggerated when they spoke of an Underground City. Illion
believed that he had indeed discovered the Underground City. In his
introduction to Darkness over Tibet, Illion writes: "The existence of
an Underground City in Tibet is occasionally hinted at by well
informed people in the forbidden country, although the stories are
often extravagant and turn the Underground City, which I succeeded in
entering, into a `Mighty Underground Empire inhabited by millions of
people"' (emphasis added).
"Tibet becomes somewhat more accessible as the years roll by, and I
am confident that eventually explorers will confirm my description of
the Underground City of Tibet."
Tibet did not become more open, instead, the Tibet of that time with
its religious culture disappeared altogether. Saddest of all was the
deliberate Chinese destruction of this strange religious order which
fascinated so many and which had kept Tibet at peace for centuries.
The brutal Chinese suppression of religion in that country is one of
the darker events of this century. I also can't help but wonder what
happened to Mr Illion during World War II for one never hears of him
Illion therefore does not place any credence in the existence of an
Underground Empire which has millions of inhabitants. But it does
nevertheless demonstrate that back in the 1930's there was talk among
the "well informed" of Tibet about the existence of a vast
Underground Empire "inhabited by millions."
Illion's City of Initiates, as he preferred to call it, was really
nothing special. He does not mention its exact location but does
mention passing through one of the sidevalleys of the Sangpo Valley
on his way there. He says it was located 20 miles from the nearest
village. It was located at a place where the valley widened to
It can be likened to a sub surface apartment building. It consisted
of seven underground buildings arranged in a circle around a central
hole like a bore hole. At the top of each building was a staircase
which went down into it. And at the top were thick sheets of glass
through which sun light streamed. The rectangular patches at the top
measured 40 yards x 40 yards. The buildings could easily be
camouflaged if necessary. The railings and entrances could be hidden
and sand could be strewn across the top of the glass.
While waiting to be received into the city, Illion investigated the
central shaft. There was a wall around it, and he formed the
impression that the shaft was extremely deep. He then took a 10 pound
stone and threw it down to ascertain the hole's depth. But he never
heard the sound of it hitting the bottom. He then threw a 20 pound
stone down the shaft and listened carefully. After 35 40 seconds he
heard the sound of it scraping down the one side of the shaft but he
never heard it strike the bottom. He was getting ready to throw a 30
pound stone down the shaft when a messenger bade him to please stop!
Illion lived in the city for quite a while. During this time he
realised that several hundred people lived here. Life was very
regulated and rigid. This city, although composed of Tibetans, does
not seem to be in any way linked to the Tibetan Buddhist order or to
the Government of that country. It seems to have been a strange
religious cult which was extremely dangerous. At one point Illion
feared for his life and that was when he made his successful attempt
The buildings were several stories deep. How such a thing could have
been carved out of rock is a puzzle. Perhaps it is of ancient origin?
The strangest part of the complex was without a doubt the central
shaft. Its incredible depth was a mystery. At one point Illion
mentioned to his rich Tibetan friend, Narbu, that the shaft was very
deep. Narbu replied "It is immeasurably deep, but no one except the
Prince of Light and a few of the highest Initiates ... know where it
leads to. Anyone who would find out where it leads to and what it is
used for would have to die... There are such secrets:" The "Prince of
Light" was the cult's leader, and Illion came to dislike him greatly.
Illion could offer no further insight or guesses as to the function
of this shaft.
I should emphasise that there was no talk of this "city" being linked
to Agharta. llion believed that this was Agharta even though the
Tibetans themselves never claimed that. Narbu had referred to this as
the "City of Initiates." The "Prince of Light" never claimed to be
the "King of the World:" It is Illion who came to his own conclu
sion that perhaps this was Agharta.,
Illion decided to flee when he accidentally stumbled into
the "kitchen" and saw them cutting bits of flesh off a corpse and
cooking it. He had seen many human skeletal remains and had come to
suspect that there was cannibalism going on there. When he saw the
corpse being cut up he decided it was time to leave with the greatest
of haste. It should be pointed out that Tibetan Buddhists do not eat
meat, and this cannibalism is definitely an aberration by their
standards. The cult derived its power and finances from a number of
rich Tibetans who were caught up in it.
Illion's tale is the only one of its kind. His writing is very
rational as he discusses many aspects of Tibetan life and as he makes
his own observations of them. He seems to be level headed and had not
expected to stumble upon this strange cult. Illion's discovery has
never been verified because of the changes which have taken place in
Religion & Legends
The tale of the extremely deep shaft is quite curious by itself.
There have long been rumours of deep tunnels in Tibet which led to
the Inner Earth. But whether this is in fact one of them is an open
It is Illion's confirmation that there really was talk of a vast
Underground Empire of millions of inhabitants which is of interest to
us. This talk had enough substance for Illion to believe it was a
Nicholas Roerich, who was a very famous cultural figure in his time,
also confirms what Illion says. Roerich was born in 1874 in St.
Petersburg, and grew up in an upper middle class family. At an early
age he developed an interest in archaeology and was also a talented
painter. He travelled extensively, and had wide interests. Roerich
believed in the unity of all religions. During the Russian revolution
he was opposed to the Communists. He later founded the Master
Institute of United Arts in New York. His wife also authored some
books. He passed away in 1947.
At 319 West 107th St in New York city one finds the Nicholas Roerich
Museum. Roerich believed that there might be some truth in the myths
of the past. In the 1920's he and his wife travelled extensively
through Tibet and many other Asian countries. In one of his books,
Shambhala (sic), he discusses the concept of subterranean dwellers.
"In every city, in every encampment of Asia, I tried to discover what
memories were being cherished in the folk memory. Through these
guarded and preserved tales you can recognise the reality of the
past. In every spark of folk lore, there is a drop of the great Truth
adorned or distorted. Not long ago we were too vain to appreciate
these treasures of folk lore:"
He continues: "Among innumerable legends and fairy tales of various
countries may be found the tales of lost tribes or subterranean
dwellers. In wide and diverse directions, people are speaking of the
identical facts. But in correlating them you can readily see that
these are but chapters from one story. At first it seems impossible
that there should exist any scientific connection between these
distorted whispers under the light of the desert bonfires. But
afterwards you begin to grasp the peculiar coincidence in these
manifold legends related by peoples who are even ignorant of each
"You recognise the same relationship in the folk lores of Tibet,
Mongolia, China, Turkestan, Kashmir, Persia, Altai, Siberia, the
Ural, Caucasia, the Russian steppes, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary,
Germany, France; from the highest mountains to the deepest seas. You
will hear wonderfully elaborated tales in the Tourfan district. They
tell you how a holy tribe was persecuted by a tyrant and how the
people, not willing to submit to the cruelty, closed themselves in
subterranean mountains. They even ask if you want to see the entrance
to the cave through which the saintly folk fled."'
Of Agharta he writes: "In many places of Central Asia, they speak of
the Agharti, the subterranean people. In numerous beautiful legends
they outline the same story of how the best people abandoned the
treacherous Earth and sought salvation in hidden countries where they
acquired new forces and conquered powerful energies" (emphasis
In the Altai mountains Roerich met an old man who believed that the
Chud, a subterranean people, were real. The old man told of how a
powerful tribe flourished in a fertile valley. They were peaceful and
industrious. Then came a cruel White Tzar with
hordes of cruel warriors. The Chud could not resist them but they
also had no desire to be enslaved. The Chud then departed into the
Earth. The old man took Roerich to a low stony hill where he showed
him what he believed was a passage which had been closed by stones.
Roerich does not seem to have been convinced that indeed this was an
entrance into anything subterranean. He described the place as being
a tomb encircled with great stones which was so typical of the period
of great migrations.
Roerich relates another incident which suggested the existence of
subterranean passages. He wrote: "... I remembered how during our
crossing of the Karakorum pass, my sais, the Ladaki, asked me,
Do you know why there is such a peculiar upland here? Do you know that in the subterranean caves here many treasures are hidden and that in them lives a wonderful tribe which abhors the sins of the Earth?"' "And again when we approached Khotan the hoofs of our horses sounded hollow as though we rode above caves or hollows. Our caravan people called our attention to this, saying, Do you hear what hollow
passages we are crossing? Through these passages, people who are
familiar with them can reach far off countries."'
"When we saw entrances of caves, our caravaneers told us,
Long ago people lived there; now they have gone inside; they have found a subterranean passage to the subterranean kingdom. (emphasis added) Only rarely do some of them appear again on Earth. At our bazaar such people come with strange, very ancient money, but nobody could even remember a time when such money was in usage here.' I asked them, if we could see such people. And they answered, Yes, if your thoughts
are similarly high and in contact with these holy people, because
sinners are upon Earth and the pure and courageous people pass on to
something more beautiful."'
"Great is the belief in the kingdom of the subterranean people.
Through all of Asia, through the space of all deserts, from the
Pacific to the Urals, you can hear the same wondrous tale of the
vanished holy people. And even far beyond the Ural Mountains, the
echo of the same tale will reach you" (emphasis added).'
"Sometimes either poisonous or vitalizing gases are spread over the
Earth, to protect someone. Sometimes you hear how the sands of the
great desert shift, and for a moment disclose treasures of the
entrances of subterranean kingdoms. But none would dare touch these
treasures. You will hear how, in the rocks, in the most deserted
mountain ranges, you can see openings which connect with these
subterranean passes, and how beautiful princesses once upon a time
occupied these natural castles... Sometimes the Holy City is
submerged as in the folk lore of Netherlands and Switzerland... In
Siberia, in Russia, in Lithuania and Poland, you find many legends
and fairy tales about giants who lived at times in these countries
but afterwards, disliking the new customs, disappeared."'°
Roerich's interpretation of many of these tales was that they did not
represent real subterranean tribes but the migrations of ancient
peoples across Eurasia.
In Tibet he had a most interesting discussion with a Tibetan Lama in
1928. It is recorded in the first chapter of his book. He refers
to "Shambhala, the Resplendent." The Lama speaks of a man named
Rigden jyepo who seems to be none other than the "King of the World."
He also refers to him as the Blessed One.
The most important excerpts from it are reproduced below:
"`Lama, tell me of Shambhala!"'
"But you Westerners know nothing about Shambhala you wish to know
Probably you ask out of curiosity; and you pronounce this sacred word
Roerich then spends a long time trying to convince the Lama that
indeed people of the West are interested in the concept. He mentions
that Grundwedel translated the book The Way to Shambhala and that
another Lama had written a book called The Red Path to Shambhala and
that the Mongolians had a song about Shambhala. Roerich then tells
the Lama that perhaps he even knows something new about Shambhala
which the Lama doesn't know. Roerich tells him that a young Mongolian
Lama had recently written a book about Shambhala.
Roerich continues: "The Lama studies us with his piercing glance.
Then he says:
Great Shambhala is far beyond the ocean. It is the mighty heavenly domain. It has nothing to do with our Earth. How and why do you earthy people take interest in it? Only in some places, in the far north, can you discern the resplendent rays of Shambhala"' (emphasis added). Roerich then counters by saying he heard there was an earthly Shambhala. Roerich says: ... We know the stories of the Buryat Lama, of how he was
accompanied through a very narrow secret passage:' Roerich continues
by trying to show that he had heard several stories of an earthly
"... The Lama becomes silent. With eyes half concealed by the lids,
our faces. And in the evening dusk, he commences his tale:
Verily, the time is coming when the Teaching of the Blessed One will once again come from the North to the South... You come from the West, yet you are bringing news of Shambhala. We must take it verily so. Probably the ray from the tower of Rigden jyepo has reached all coun¬ tries."' "Like a diamond glows the light on the Tower of Shambhala. He is
there Rigdenjyepo, indefatigable, ever vigilant in the cause of
mankind. His eyes never close. And in his magic mirror he sees all
events of Earth."'
And the might of his thought penetrates into far off lands. Distance does not exist for him; he can instantaneously bring assistance to worthy ones"' "... Uncountable are the inhabitants of Shambhala. Numerous are the
splendid new forces and achievements which are being prepared for
humanity..."' (emphasis added).
"Innumerable are the great things predestined and prepared. Through
the Holy Scriptures we know of the Teaching of the Blessed One about
the inhabitants of the distant stars. From the same source we have
heard of the flying steel bird ... about iron serpents which devour
space with fire and smoke.""'
In Tibetan lore there is a very strong suggestion that there are some
holy people here on the surface world, who work with the people of
the Inner Earth and who perform tasks at the behest of this
civilisation. The Lama's reference to people from the stars and to
rockets is also of interest. Note that this chat took place long
before the space age and the current interest in extraterrestrials.
The Lama continues: "
Shambhala knows all. But the secrets of Shambhala are well guarded"' (emphasis added). "Lama, how are the secrets of Shambhala guarded? It is said that
many co workers of Shambhala, many messengers, are speeding through
the world. How can they preserve the secrets entrusted to them?"'
"`The great keepers of mysteries are watching closely all those to
whom they have
entrusted their work and given high missions. If an unexpected evil
confronts them they are helped immediately..."'
Roerich told the Lama tales of people coming out of subterranean
tunnels with strange old coins. The Lama replied:
Verily, verily, the people of Shambhala at times emerge into the World. They meet the earthly co workers of Shambhala. For the sake of humanity, they send out precious gifts, remarkable relics. I can tell you many stories of how wonderful gifts were received through the space. Even Rigden jyepo himself appears at times in a human body. Suddenly he shows himself in holy places, in monasteries, and at a time predestined, pronounces prophecies."' "By night or at early morning before sunrise, the ruler of the world
arrives in the temple. He enters. All the lamps at once kindle
themselves. Some already recognise the great stranger. In deep
reverence the lamas gather. They listen with the greatest attention
to the prophecies of the future"' (emphasis added).
The King of the World is clearly a physical being like ourselves.
Isn't it strange how Roerich should find a Tibetan Lama making
statements very similar to those written by Plato so long ago which
this Lama could not possibly have any knowledge of? Why should the
King of the World have an interest in monasteries and holy places
unless he is somehow linked to the religions of the world just as
Plato had said?
Where is Shambhala? Roerich asks:
Lama, how does it happen that Shambhala on Earth is still undiscovered by travellers? On maps you may see so many routes of expeditions. It appears that all heights are already marked and all valleys and rivers explored."' The Lama replies: "... But as yet ... people have not found all
things so, let a man try to reach Shambhala without a call! You
have heard about the poisonous streams which encircle the uplands.
Perhaps you have even seen people dying from these gases when they
come near them. Perhaps you have seen how animals and people begin to
tremble when they approach certain localities. Many people try to
reach Shambhala, uncalled. Some of them have disappeared forever.
Only a few of them reach the holy place, and only if their karma is
The early Western travellers to Tibet seem to have consistently told
the same tale. And even now, some Tibetans still believe in the
existence of Shamballa. It appears that my Canadian Lama
correspondent was wrong in his statements about the King of the World.
The Lama never really tells Roerich where Shamballa may be found. But
he does say some interesting things, namely: 1) Shamballa lies
across an ocean. 2) That from some places in the Far North, one can
see the "resplendent rays of Shambhala." (Is this a reference to the
These statements by a Tibetan Lama seem to dove tail strangely with
the old Hollow Earth theories which maintain that the aurora is in
some way related to an Inner Sun inside the Earth.
I approached the "Tibetan Buddhism" news group on Internet. Does
anyone today still believe in Agharta? Most of the replies I received
stated that most Buddhists do not believe Agharta to be a real place.
It is seen in a spiritual light akin to Christianity's heaven.