Rishikesh, the Yoga Capital of the World, has ashrams at every corner. Some of them are extremely popular. Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh is a different and special one. It is absolutely abandoned now, yet this derelict space is heaven for Beatles’ fans. It is a National Property maintained by Rajaji Tiger Reserve as it is located on the outskirts of the National Park. The site is 5 kilometers away from the heart of Rishikesh Town. The sprawling 14 acres of land is uninhabited and is situated on top of a 150 feet high cliff called Manikoot, overlooking the Ganga. This place at the Himalayan foothills, surrounded by forests, feels mysterious.
Origin of Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh
Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh was originally called the International Academy of Meditation. It was started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as a training center of Transcendental Meditation Technique, in the 1960s. In 1968 this ashram gained international attention. The reason being the iconic English Rock Band, “The Beatles”, came to learn Transcendental Meditation. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi leased the site from the state forestry department of Uttar Pradesh in 1961. Uttarakhand did not exist at that time. Today Rishikesh is under the state of Uttarakhand, called Dev Bhoomi. Maharshi stopped using the ashram in the 70s. The lease expired in the 80s. The site was abandoned in the 90s and the local forestry department took over. Rajaji National Park took over in 2003. In December 2015, Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh was officially opened to the public. The Indian visitors are charged Rs.150 and foreigners are charged Rs.600.
Things to See at Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh
Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh is known as Chaurasi Kutiya meaning 84 chambers. The main meditation center has 84 (chaurasia) chambers for meditation. It is a pyramid-shaped building. There are meditation domes made of rocks. One of them has paintings of ‘Yellow Submarine’ and letters to Yoko from Lennon as graffiti.
Dilapidated buildings like Anand Bhavan and Siddhi Bhavan look haunted. The buildings are in ruins. In the 90s, Beatles fans have left terrific graffiti. It was to honor the presence of ‘The Beatles’ at the site. The Cathedral Gallery showcases amazing graffiti art. Beatles Ashram Mural Project brought about more magic into the space by 4 artists. There is a viewpoint from where one can see the Ganga from the hilltop. Sitting there and absorbing the wilderness is a serene experience. The place is great for nature lovers and bird watchers.
The Beatles at the Ashram
‘The Beatles’, regarded as one of the most influential bands of all times, comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Lennon and Harrison arrived first in February 1968 with their wives. They stayed for the longest and left in April. Next, McCartney and Harrison came to the Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh. It is considered to be the most creative period for ‘the Beatles’. A huge gang of reporters and photographers, who were mostly kept out of the fenced compound, followed ‘the Beatles’. The people who came with the band adapted to native Indian dress. The men often wore kurta pajama and the women sarees. There was more music at that time in the ashram for all the students. They were given a little more facilities and luxuries in their allotted domes.
A Unique Place
Many are not aware of Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh. Rishikesh has tremendous religious and/or mythological significance, spiritual centers and wellness retreats and adventure camps. You must visit the ashram for the beautiful location, which provides absolute nature’s bliss. This place has an extremely strong spiritual vibe which is unique, special and lofty.
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A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.