Rishikesh – the very first spot that pops up in my mind when we think of weekend getaway from Delhi. Around 250 kms from Delhi, this holy land has much more to offer than the eyes can meet. With the holy Ganges flowing in its eternal beauty from the Himalayas, Rishikesh has been the most favourite spot for rafting lovers. The scenic beauty of the place with picturesque greenery to fill your eyes. Rishikesh also happens to be the Yoga Capital of the World.
Not a first timer in Rishikesh, I decided to explore the place at my own pace and see the unseen. One such discovery was the Beatles Ashram. Yes our very own childhood rock hero- Beatles. How many would believe that they too stayed in this land. As I decided to roam and explore the abandoned and secluded Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram AKA Beatles Ashram I wondered how life would have been then in the late 60’s two when few of the most eminent faces in the International music scene stayed here for two months.
Crossing the Ram Jhula (the iron suspension bridge) as I landed on the side I could see various shops lined up selling variety of stuff mostly religious CD’s and as you keep walking you see the road turning left. Few more steps and there I was facing another world that had existed once upon a time in that barren, tattered ashram.
Beatles had visited Rishikesh in 1968 for meditation and from then on Rishikesh found its presence in world map. They were here to learn the art of transcendental meditation at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram. George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were here with their family, support staff & few reporters.
Though when I had gone thoroughfare was restricted, but yes tipping a local helped me take a sneak peak inside. (The good news is now it’s opened and Indian Government has made the Maharishi’s old compound a tourist attraction). The ashram falls inside the Rajaji National Park and as you walk you can spot many dilapidated buildings along the path.
The ashram was abandoned in 1997. Known as chaurasi kutia the place sees some 84 egg shaped domes which are pebbled huts for mediation at that point time. The architecture of the place will leave you spellbound. As I stepped inside there were stairs that led to the top. Barren, dry and once a place full of life the ashram kind of looks amazing if you are especially there just during sunset.
The main attraction is The Beatles Cathedral Gallery, which sees graffiti artworks of Ringo, John, Paul and George and other famous faces. It’s fun to look at them. It was in 2012 Canadian artist Pan Trinity Das had done some beautiful pop art and beautiful black-and-white portraits of The Beatles on the walls.
Not to forget that this was the time when the gang wrote not less than 48 songs few of which even made to the their album White Album. Beatles lover as the place has opened once again, just head here to get that feeling of nostalgia and trance. The crumbling off ceiling, serenity around the place is worth a visit.
How to reach: It is located in Swargashram area. The road from Ram Jhula which leads to has Gita Bhawan & Parmath NIketan Ashram. At the end of that road you will see old closed iron gate of The Beatles Ashram.