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The Beatles haunt a Himalayan ‘Long and Winding Road’ | Asia Times

The Beatles haunt a Himalayan ‘Long and Winding Road’ | Asia Times

The Beatles haunt a Himalayan ‘Long and Winding Road’ | Asia Times
April 11
11:42 2017

The storied “Beatles Ashram” awaits beyond a long and winding road across the Ganges River in Rishikesh, the Himalayan town where The Beatles lived in 1968 and composed their curious chapter of renunciation.Nearly five decades later, the ashram is derelict yet still alive, a peaceful yet eerie abandoned ghost village that the Rajaji Tiger Reserve is now slowly consuming – like endless desires eating away humans and demigods of fame and fortune as The Beatles were circa 1967.Embed from Getty Images John Lennon (left) and George Harrison leave London’s Heathrow Airport for India on February 15, 1968. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr joined them later.The iconic British band met Transcendental Meditation founder “Maharishi” Mahesh Yogi in London in 1967, and their India odyssey followed. And worldwide media attention followed them.“I followed The Beatles to Rishikesh with my photographer colleague Raghu Rai,” Saeed Naqui reported in Indian newspaper The Statesman. “Almost every newspaper in the world had sent their senior reporters. Not to much avail, though. The ashram was out of bounds for the media.” … We walked on ’til I spotted the Maharishi under a tree with The Beatles. I promptly sneaked Raghu Rai in and he took a shot with the aid of his zoom lens. The Statesman had its scoop.”The Beatles and their wives at Rishikesh in March 1968. The group includes Ringo Starr, Maureen Starkey, Jane Asher, Paul McCartney, George Harrison (1943-2001), Patti Boyd, Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon (1940-1980), Beatles roadie Mal Evans, Jenny Boyd, Prudence Farrow and Beach Boy Mike Love.Four days before my visit to the ashram this month, the Fab Four’s “The Long and Winding Road” was playing on the opposite bank of the Ganges at the 1960s-themed Dilmar Cafe, better known as The Beatles Cafe.Lights in the Himalayan dusk turned the Ganges into a river of gold, as the Lennon-McCartney lyrics rang appropriately in this ancient town full of seekers of the true way:“The long and winding road, that leads, to your door Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before It always leads me here, lead me to your door ……. Why leave me standing here, let me know the way.”The Beatles Cafe menu carries The Statesman article on The Beatles’ initial days in Rishikesh, and their search for the way.“[John] Lennon was the reclusive one,” Naqui reported, “and [Ringo] Starr was the friendliest. Paul [McCartney] would come and lie down in the Maharishi’s secretary Suresh Babu’s cabin and leaf through the copies of the Junior Statesman [the popular Statesman youth magazine of the 1960s].”

Source: The Beatles haunt a Himalayan ‘Long and Winding Road’ | Asia Times

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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