Be it selling hippie culture in the name of Marley, cafes with posters of Morrison or baked food as German when there is no possible connection with Deutsch, Indians possess the unique ability to even sell water to fish.
So be it with Chaurasi Kutia, except the fact that the Beatles did stay here.
MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI ASHRAM
A 15-minute walk from Ram Jhula, it is located within the Rajaji National Park, overlooking the town of Rishikesh. It was a centre for students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s and 70’s to learn transcendental meditation.
The place comprises of a huge hall, a kitchen and a few abandoned buildings that are in a dilapidated state. The most noteworthy thing about the ashram is the cottages known as Chaurasi Kutia (’84 huts’). These are numbered huts in the shape of dome, meant for the stay of guests for the meditation programs run by the ashram.
The place now also boasts of a small café, lots of spider-webs and decay.
Know more about – The largest ‘Camel fair’ of the world
THE BEATLES CONNECTION
One of the most popular bands in the 1960s, The Beatles visited the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968 to learn meditation. It is said that they wrote more than 40 songs during their stay, including some that were later featured on “The White Album” and “Abbey Road.”
Their visit gained worldwide media attention and Rishikesh- tourists, yoga and peace seekers from all over the world. The ashram remained closed after the lease expired and turned into ruin before finally opening up to the public in 2015. The iconic band’s reference has since drawn lots of interested international tourists/band’s followers while others followed suit.
Furthermore, what also makes it appealing now is the various graffiti which have been worked on by talented artists both from India and abroad.
I met Tony on the way to the ashram and we hit it off straight away. As we explored the ashram, I got to know about his love for music festivals and other global and exotic events (Burning Man for one) and how he had been travelling solo to attend some of the most popular ones around the globe. A resident of San Francisco, he considers Bali to be his second home. A retired attorney, he is now also actively involved in various volunteering programs. It wasn’t surprising when he told me that he had actually witnessed the Beatles live in action in his younger days.
Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.
And this young gentleman definitely had lots of stories to narrate. There is so much to learn from people of such kind. Enthusiasm, Passion and Liberation amongst others.
GRAFFITI FROM THE ASHRAM
Next time you visit Rishikesh, you might well want to explore this place too.
Where: Rishikesh. A 15-20 min walk from Ram Jhula.
Why: To feel the vibe, realizing the ‘productive period’ and stay of one of the most iconic bands of the world. Rest, the place greets you with fresh air and cool graffiti.
What else: Absorb nature. Listen to birds chirping. Meditate.
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm
The quieter you become, the more you can hear.