Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram – Rishikesh, India - Atlas Obscura

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Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram

Rishikesh, India

The abandoned site of the Beatles spiritual awakening and subsequent revolt. 


The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram in Rishikesh, India, is one of the few places associated with the Fab Four that has been largely abandoned. 

Now remembered for its famous guests and not the teachings of its (possibly charlatan) yogi, the ashram saw the arrival of the Beatles in 1968. At the urging of George Harrison, the entire group traveled to the remote meditation center to study under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but the band’s peace was not destined to last.

The ashram consisted of meditation cells, a lecture hall, and a great number of purpose-built bungalows where the band stayed. Ringo Starr was the first to leave, citing a distaste for the vegetarian food, and was soon followed by Paul McCartney. George Harrison and John Lennon stuck around for a few weeks more, but after a confrontation with the Maharishi over his conduct among the female students, they too took their leave of the school. Despite having only stayed at the site for a short number of months, the band wrote a number of hit songs about their experience, ensuring the ashram would live in infamy.

Today the formerly transcendental complex is abandoned and the buildings are being retaken by the surrounding forest. The lecture hall has even been turned into an art project called the Beatles Cathedral with Beatles lyrics and pictures of the band painted all over the walls. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram is a bit hard to find, but there are a number of enterprising locals who are more than willing to enlighten visitors for the right price.

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