Famous Beatles Ashram in Rishikesh reopens

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Fifty years ago, the Beatles arrived at an unlikely location in Rishikesh at the invitation of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The visit has passed into rock’n’roll legend even as the ashram has fallen into ruin. Much of the fabled White Album was composed in these now-derelict halls and bungalows.

Beatles Ashram, also known as Chaurasi Kutia, is an ashram close to the north Indian city of Rishikesh in the state of Uttarakhand. It is located on the eastern bank of the Gangesriver, opposite the Muni Ki Reti area of Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas. During the 1960s and 1970s, as the International Academy of Meditation, it was the training centre for students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who devised the Transcendental Meditation technique. The ashram gained international attention between February and April 1968 when the English rock band the Beatles studied meditation there, along with celebrities such as DonovanMia Farrow and Mike Love. It was the setting for the band’s most productive period as songwriters, where they composed most of the songs for their self-titled double album, also known as the “White Album”.

The site was abandoned in the 1990s and reverted to the local forestry department in 2003, after which it became a popular visiting place for fans of the Beatles. Although derelict and overrun by jungle, the site was officially opened to the public in December 2015. It has since become known as Beatles Ashram and held an exhibition in February 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in Rishikesh.

The Maharishi’s lease on the ashram’s land expired in 1981 and the yogi decamped to the Netherlands in 1992. But certain followers remained until the early 2000s, when India’s Supreme Court ordered them to leave. Everything is crumbling, overgrown: the kitchen, the printing press, the post office where John Lennon waited for daily postcards from Yoko Ono even though he was travelling with his wife.

In 2017, the Uttarakhand Forest Department announced a $20 million renovation for the ashram, including a souvenir store and educational areas. “We plan to develop Chaurasi Kutia as an eco-tourism centre,” says Sanatan Sonker, director of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. “Our aim is to link the ashram with local villagers and help them earn their livelihood through tourism.”

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#Beatels #Rishikesh #Maharishi #Yoga #Music #Meditation


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