Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand 

Tripoto
3rd Dec 2018
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman

Travelling allows your mind to get away from the husty, bored routine life of yours, allowing you to create a memory experienced never before. As an adult, it is always hard to set aside responsibilities or even find the time to take a break.

My love for travel never let me sit idle on weekend, as it being the ultimate expression of my freedom. Don’t know if this is a passion or an addiction? but whatever it is, it let me feel happy and satisfied.

Every time I visit a place i get to experience something new. This time it is about "Beatles" in Rishikesh. Who were they? Why they been to India? Why the Ashram named after them and above all why the ashram has been abandoned? Through this blog, i tired to elaborate the best of my experience to you.

Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand  1/1 by Sapna Dhiman

This time, on my birthday eve, i decided to visit the yoga capital of india - Rishikesh. This was my third visit, second in the same year. During my first visit, I experienced river rafting and camping at Shivpuri in 2015. That time I hardly explored the city. The second time it wasn’t Rishikesh but Haridwar, we had some extra time so we came to Rishikesh just for 2-3 hours. But my travel instincts bring me here again to explore the city like a real traveler, this trip was very budget free, walked the streets, took the lifts, stayed at hostels, spent the night at Ganga ghat, enjoyed the Ganga Arti, danced on the Bhajans. One of the best trip I can say.

Rishikesh, over the years, has become extremely popular as the top spiritual destination in the world, especially after the Beatles association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here in the late ‘60s. As it lies on the holy banks of Ganga, the place has been a hub of Sadhus. There are numerous ashrams teaching yoga, spirituality, meditation, and Ayurveda. In the last few years, Rishikesh has also been developed as the hub of adventure sports with many options including White water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Flying fox, Mountain Biking etc.

Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, is a popular place to meditate, do yoga and learn about other aspects of Hinduism. The whole town is considered to be sacred and it’s believed that meditation here leads to salvation.

How to Reach:

The nearest airport is Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, 35 km.

There are many buses and train ply from Delhi to Dehradun or Haridwar. There are many buses and taxi service to Rishikesh.

Day 1
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman

Reached Rishikesh around 3 PM from Chandigarh, already have booked with Zostel India, which costs around INR 600 per bed. There are Girls Dormitory as well. Checked into the Zostel, put our belongings in the locker left for Triveni Ghat. We already planned to attend the Ganga Arti at Triveni Ghat. Arti starts around 5:45 Pm so We had time. So decided to have some snacks first and started to explore the streets. Started the walk from Tapovan crossed the suspension bridges(Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula) and it rewarded us with a spectacular view of Town and river. The walk was around 3-4 Kms. Then grabbed an auto from Ram Jhula to Triveni Ghat, a running auto will cost you INR 10 in offseasons and INR 20 in seasons. It took 15-20 min to reach Triveni Ghat from the auto stand. Arti started after 5-10 mins of our arrival. Ganga Arti soothes the mind and hearts. After the Ganga Arti enjoyed the Bhajans and danced on them.

Photo of Triveni Ghat, Mayakund, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Triveni Ghat, Mayakund, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Triveni Ghat, Mayakund, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Triveni Ghat, Mayakund, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman

After spending around 2 hours there we left from there. We went to the Ganga Cafe near Laxman Jhula, Spent almost 4 hours there. After that, we walked to our hostel around 11:30 PM. Nobody was on the streets but we enjoyed the night walk.

Day 2

This day we had two places on top of our list, Beatles Ashram, and Neer Garh waterfall. This place is a delightful place to wander around and explore on foot. Again crossed the bridges. You can also take a boat across the river near Ram Jhula as an alternative to walking. After a walk of 2 hours, we reached Beatles Ashram. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram (Beatles Ashram) found just to the south of the Swarg Ashram in Rishikesh.

Photo of Beatles Ashram, Swarg Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman

The Beatles Ashram located within Rajaji National Park and recently re-opened for tourists after three decades. Its remaining walls have been decorated with amazing graffiti artwork by artists from around the world. The entry cost is INR 150 for Indians and INR 600 for foreigners.

Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of Transcendental Meditation movement, the Indian guru who first met The Beatles in 1967. They became fascinated by his techniques of Transcendental Meditation and decided to visit the Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh, in February 1968, along with their wives, girlfriends, and assistants which became a major media event. Not only Beatles came to India for a spiritual reawakening through meditation, but the trip proved to be one of their most creative periods - they wrote 48 songs, with most of them ending up on The White Album.

Some of them left later in March, some departed abruptly in mid-April following rumors of the Maharishi’s inappropriate behavior towards actress Mia Farrow and another of his female students. The divisive influence of the Beatles suspicions that their teacher was taking advantage of the band’s fame has also been cited by biographers and witnesses as a reason for the two Beatles dissatisfaction. The band’s denunciation of the Maharishi proved detrimental to his reputation in the west, and their return from Rishikesh marked the start of a divisive atmosphere that anticipated the group’s break up in 1970. Lately, the allegations of the Maharishi’s inappropriate behavior were unfounded.

The Chaurasia Kutia ashram was spread over 14 acres of forest near River Ganga, on land leased from the state Govt. When the lease expired two decades ago, the ashram was abandoned. Although the Ashram was officially closed to the public that did not stop the many Beatles fans, and graffiti artists from sneaking in and paying tribute to the band with numerous colorful graffiti, which can be found scattered throughout the complex.

Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman

Now this is a part of the Rajaji National Park Tiger Sanctuary which is also home to many animals, including panthers, elephants and over 400 species of birds.It was officially re-opened to the public in late 2015 with an entry fee to help pay for the maintenance of the compound and to fund to the addition of museum and cafeteria.

Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman

We spent almost 3 hours there, after that, we headed towards the Neer Garh waterfall.

You can get to the Neer Garh waterfalls by either walking, driving, or taking a taxi up to the first waterfall. From the Topovan area of Rishikesh, you will travel along 7 highway (or Karprayag-Haridwar Rd.) for about a mile until you see signs for Neergarh Waterfall Rd. on the left. You will follow the steep mountain road up to a parking lot just below the first waterfall. Here, you can pay the small entrance fee of INR 30.

Photo of Neergarh Waterfall Road, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Neergarh Waterfall Road, Uttarakhand, India by Sapna Dhiman

Once you are by the stream, there is a small pool at the bottom that you can dip your feet in or even sit at a table in and drink some chai. From here you will follow the stairs up until the mountain and along the stream to cross the first bridge. The trail keeps going up and gets gradually steeper, but when you see the two lower tiers of waterfalls from the trail, you can veer off of the trail to get a closer look and also a more intimate photographic opportunity.

Keep on climbing up the trail, resting on the many benches as needed. Soon you will find the second bridge and the main Neer Garh Waterfall. This is the tallest of the three falls, standing at roughly 25 feet. This waterfall also feeds into the largest swimming hole and even a concrete platform to get in from. The water here is pretty chilly year-round but definitely refreshing.

Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman

Nearby places to visit:

1) Haridwar

2) Raja Ji Park

3) Dehradun

4) Mussoorie

5) Shivpuri

Pro Travel Tip: Rishikesh is a holy town, so eggs, fish and meat are difficult to find there. Try to walk around as much as you can, although auto rickshaws are readily available transport from the bus or train station to either of the bridges.

Rishikesh is great place to shop for religious items, books, clothes and handicrafts.

Photo of Lets Explore The Abandoned Beatles Ashram #offbeatuttarakhand by Sapna Dhiman
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