DAILY PHOTO: The Beatles Ashram

Taken in November of 2017 in Rishikesh

This set of modern ruins gussied up with graffiti is now officially known as the Beatles Ashram because the Beatles famously stayed here in the late 1960’s, writing most of the White Album songs at that time. I imagine this naming is controversial to some because when it was an ashram it was led by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (developer of Transcendental Meditation–a mantra based meditation) and is locally called Chaurasi Kutia Ashram. In fact, I thought this might be why there is virtually no signage for it outside in Rishikesh, but I came to suspect that that might have more to do with the fact that Rishikesh has a heavy-handed taxi mafia (i.e. it’s a pleasant walk if you know where to go, but it can be hard to find and thus an easy fare for drivers.) Until recently, it was completely abandoned and overgrown, but the forest service (it’s inside Rajaji National Park) finally saw the cash cow they were sitting on and had part of it cleaned up and graffiti-fied so that they could charge an astronomical entrance fee–600Rs. for foreigners and 150Rs. for Indians.

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