Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, popularly called the Beatles ashram, today is in a derelict condition but its legacy continues to live on. In fact, its foliage clad exterior adds aura to place. It was here that in 1960s the Beatles came to learn Transcendental Meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Little did they know, that their route to escape from drugs and exhaustion will also bring a paradigm shift in the way the world looked at Eastern Knowledge especially yoga and meditation. This event catapulted Rishikesh to the status of an international yoga and meditation destination.
The Beatles Ashram is a few kms from the Laxman Jhula. Although obscured from view, the ashram can be found with a bit of help from the locals. There is an entry ticket of about one dollar. Once inside, visitors get a view of what once was a sprawling ashram, made with a grand vision. In its prime, the ashram had a huge lecture hall, meditation cells and bungalows for lodging. It is believed that at one time more than 200 people lived in this expansive campus. The band along with their entourage had stayed in these bungalows. Apart from learning meditation, they also wrote many famous songs, put together in the White Album, which went on to become international bestsellers.
Use of river stone is a standard characteristic in every part of the ashram. An interesting architectural marvel is the egg shaped dome at the top of the residential complex. It is believed that Maharishi would ask the Beatles to sit in the dome and chant mantras. The acoustics of the dome would carry the sound faraway. It is believed that continuous chanting in these egg shaped domes allowed the practitioners to experience astral trip or an out of body experience.
Today the majorly abandoned ashram draws in curious visitors, who want to relive the Beatles legacy. The lecture hall has been converted into an art project, called the Beatles Cathedral. It has images of Beatles, and their songs painted on the walls.
Visiting the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram is like relieving a part of history that changed the world of yoga and meditation forever.
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