4K – The Lost World of Tibet | AI Enhanced Film Lhasa 1942

Published on September 24, 2022 by

Time Travel back to Lhasa in Tibet in 1942, with state-of-the-art AI.

“Why is it that the fate of Tibet has found such a deep echo in the world? There can only be one answer: Tibet has become the symbol of all that present day humanity is longing for, either because it has been lost or not yet been realized or because it is in danger of disappearing from human sight.” Lama Govinda.

This AI restored segment features residents of Lhasa, clips of the Potala palace, home of the Dalai Lama, various pilgrims, monks and scenes of Tibetan Buddhism. Also some footage from the lamasery in Gyantse.

About the Film “Inside Tibet”

At the height of WW2 and desperate to secure a land route that would reconnect China and India ( severed by the invading Japanese forces), two men were dispatched by President Roosevelt to traverse the hidden kingdom of Tibet.
They were Ilia Tolstoy, the grandson of Leo Tolstoy, and explorer . The traverse of Tibet required the permission of a seven year old Dalai Lama. They came bearing gifts and a letter from FDR. They are considered to have gone beyond their authority in leading the Tibetan government to believe the United States had given international political recognition to Tibet.

Brooke Dolan filmed the entire journey, and the original reels are now housed in the motion picture holdings of the National Archives. The film now in the public domain is also published online at the Internet Archive.
Dolan sadly became a war casualty, dying in China just three years later in 1945.

While we mostly see members of the elite society of old Tibet in this film, the reality for many Tibetans was a life of poverty under a ruling theocracy. Whether this was a feudal system or a serfdom is hotly debated to this day. But the nobility who fled following the Communist incursion represented about 5% of the population, who had previously owned about 95% of the arable land. Most Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama agree that the system was far from perfect, but argue conditions were never as bad as the Communists depicted.
The debate is now highly politicized with both China and the West, in particular the USA, tending to air brush the past with vastly different narratives.

The film however does give us a glimpse of the country shortly before the seismic changes which overtook its amazing people. In popular western culture, many people relate Tibet to the mythical land of Shangri-la, from the James Hilton novel Lost Horizon.

You can watch the full original film – Inside Tibet, now in the public domain.
National Archives and Records Administration – ARC Identifier 40103 / Local Identifier 226.5 – Inside Tibet.
Office of Strategic Services,United States Government.
Original source Archive.org

Sound effects:
Tibetan percussion by Kevin Luce at freesound.org
Music: Tibetan Summer Ambient by FxProSound ( licensed by Pond5)
Music intro: Contemplate the Winter Day – Erick McNerney ( licensed by Pond5)


Add your comment


  • sut 1 year ago

    Back before China went and fucked it up

  • James Joyce 1 year ago

    Looks very similar to when I was in Tibet in 1991 but obviously there were vehicles/electricity and other modern things. The dress the woman in the video are wearing appear to be for holidays/special events rather than everyday wear.

  • Anthony Guarino 1 year ago

    Wow! I bet their great-grandchildren is watching this old majestic video of Tibet, China. These villagers are awesome and so humble! Dalai lama is so proud!

  • kei saboru 1 year ago

    the 2:36 boy looks like he wants to LAUGH so hard lol

  • MochaHoto 1 year ago

    Kinda wish there were more footage of the serfs and the feudal system instead of the nobility.

  • Roger McIntyre 1 year ago

    A country isolated from the terrible World War!

  • Mayo S 1 year ago

    Namaste 🙏🏻

  • sunita thind 1 year ago

    Beautiful 🤩

  • Lhundup Tashishar 12 months ago

    If Tibetans are happy under CCP rule, Why don't CCP show it to the world to see? If fact, Tibet is a vast prison since China illegally occupied and subjugated it in 1949. Tibetans are slave under CCP for 70 years now. This is the truth.

  • clod8 12 months ago

    I had a dream like this when I was 11 or 12. I didn’t know where it was until I was in my 20’s.

  • Technic_Junglist 11 months ago


  • susan olson 10 months ago

    When I saw them rolling the prayer wheels, all I could think is,
    "I.. I.. I.. want the knife!" 😁

  • stephanie mandy mandy 10 months ago

    Ça construisait de sacré immeubles à l'époque incroyable

  • Sergpie 9 months ago

    One of the few videos on this channel
    Here one can say at least one, if not more, of the subjects may still be living.

  • Tomasjx 7 months ago

    I will leave this comment and maybe in many years someone will read it! hello to you from Russia! hello big and beautiful world of the future!🌏🌅🎋Happy good days!💙🎐

  • Thanksihateit69 7 months ago

    They must have thought the camera man was really cute

  • Beth Roesch 7 months ago

    If only China had left them alone.