Dec 9, 2016

Beatles Ashram grows on tourism circuit, pulls in 10,000 visitors

Seema Sharma
December 9, 2016

Dehradun: One year after it was thrown open for tourists, Chaurasi Kutia, popularly known as the Beatles ashram, has started making its presence felt on the Rishikesh tourist circuit. The ashram, which belonged to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi till 2003, was later taken over by the forest department and remained in a decrepit state for many years till it was spruced up and opened for tourists last year.
According to Sanatan Sonkar, director, Rajaji Tiger Reserve, under whose jurisdiction the ashram lies, almost ten thousand tourists, including a large chunk of foreign travellers - visited the ashram in the past one year. "The response has been very enthusiastic. We have registered revenues of almost Rs 20 lakh from ticket sales at the ashram in the past one year," he told TOI.

The prime attraction that has been drawing tourists is of course the Beatles connect. The ashram is locally referred to as the Beatles ashram since the Fab Four who were disciples of Mahesh Yogi spent almost three months at the ashram in 1968 and also composed 48 songs, of which 20 were recorded while practising meditation here.
"In the past year, many celebrities including Paul Saltzman, two time Emmy award winning Canadian director, Britain-based Hinduja family, Hollywood actress Mia Farrow, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the Art of Living visited the ashram. Bollywood actress Dia Mirza also shot some scenes here for a travel show. The ashram will soon be used as a film shoot locale with a film being made by singer-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar," said range officer Rajender Nautiyal.
Saltzman, at present in Hyderabad, fondly remembered his visit to the ashram. "It is wonderful that the Beatles ashram has been reopened. It is a historical site full of deep meaning. It is also a tribute to the greatest rock bank ever, the Beatles and to their most creative time, as they wrote 48 songs in about seven weeks in the peaceful, meditative setting of the ashram," Saltzman said.

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