Explore The Ashram That The Beatles Left Behind in India
George Harrison with the Beatles in India, 1967 - The Beatles Day / Youtube
The Beatles were definitely seeking refuge from the blinding lights of fame years following their explosive debut into the musical market. It was just timely that an opportunity of a trip to India presented itself, which came after the band attended a Transcendental Meditation seminar under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It helped that George Harrison was already deeply invested in the prospects of enlightenment that India brought.
As they settled in with the yogi for a meditative lifestyle, the Beatles were removed from the wiles of the material world. They were kept from the public eye by housing them in the guru’s ashram, which helped them with their artistic aspirations. “We wrote about thirty new songs between us. Paul must have done about a dozen. George says he’s got six, and I wrote fifteen. And look what meditation did for Ringo – after all this time he wrote his first song,” John Lennon said of the experience.
However, only Lennon and Harrison were truly interested in the lifestyle, with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr struggling with every day spent at the ashram. “The way George is going, he’ll be flying a magic carpet by the time he’s forty,” said Starr, who left with his wife on March 1st and followed by McCartney later in the month.
The remaining band members left on April 11 and 12, leaving behind controversial talks that included the Maharishi’s inappropriate behavior towards women. Several versions and accounts of the story have since floated, including the Beatles’ dismissal of such claims, but have not yet seen the light of day up to now.
The ashram, called “Chaurasi Kutia”, was abandoned by the Maharishi in the ’70s and stood dilapidated in the Himalayan ranges. It was eventually opened to the public in 2015 for viewing and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Lennon and Harrison’s first visit to Rishikesh.