The ashram in Rishikesh, India, at the foothills of the Himalayas, used to be the home of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, guru to the Beatles, but has long been abandoned. The world’s most famous band visited the shrine in 1968 and it is thought that they penned most of the White album there, including the hits Ob-la-di Ob-la-da and Back in the USSR.
Nowadays, the windows have no glass, roofs are just about to fall in and the once manicured courtyards are overgrown with vegetation. But a British photographer — Antony Meadley — who visited the ashram found that the intricate stone buildings still had quite a story to tell. The place, it turns out, has been transformed into a shrine of a different kind after Beetles fans adorned the walls with some of the band’s most iconic lyrics.
Mr. Meadley says:
I wanted to photograph the buildings because I grew up listening to the Beatles and massively inspired by them. So visiting such a significant part of their history was more moving to me than going to Liverpool would have been.
I was surprised to see how abandoned the temple looked, but glad I was able to visit such an important place — and it’s obvious others there before me had felt the same.
Here is what he saw.
1. The Satsang Hall in the abandoned ashram which was once home to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, spiritual leader to the Beatles.
2. The ashram in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, northern India, has become a popular stop-off for fans of the Fab Four touring India.
3. Travelers passing through the shrine have decorated the walls with intricate artworks, as well as lyrics from their favorite Beatles songs.
4. The Beatles visited the ashram in 1968 and, it is thought, penned most of the White Album there, including hits Ob-la-di Ob-la-da and Back in the USSR.
5. A portal, its door long gone, leads outside from a building that is part of the ashram.
6. Hindu mythology meets modern graffiti art in this painting daubed on the walls of the ashram.
7. The roof is caving in on this hall, where large meetings would once have been held to teach initiates the techniques of transcendental meditation.
8. The beautiful architecture and lush surroundings show how this would once have been — and indeed still might be — a great place to spend time in contemplation.
9. No junk mail… In fact, it looks like this letter box has not had any letters at all for quite some time.
10. The Maharishi sprang to fame in the late-1960s when, after a series of world tours, he became spiritual leader to the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other celebrities.
11. Courtyards which would once have been maintained lovingly by the Maharishi’s disciples are now overgrown with the region’s lush vegetation.
12. Steps lead to the roof of one of the buildings, which stands lonely and empty beneath the blazing tropical sun.
13. Almost 50 years after the Beatles’ visit the ashram has become a shrine for fans of the Fab Four, their way guided by this nearby sign.
14. The Beatles, their wives, and other Western disciples pose for a photo with the Maharishi at the Ashram in March 1968, a month after they arrived for instruction.
15. The Beatles travelled with the Maharishi to Rishikesh in February 1968 to ‘devote themselves fully to his instruction.’ It has been speculated that the Maharishi’s influence helped wean the band off LSD and inspired them to write many of their later songs.
16. The body of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram at Arail, in Allahabad, India after his death in 2008.
Source: The Daily Mail.
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