Photo: Tomasz Roszkowski
"On 24 August 1967, The Beatles met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the London Hilton. A few days later they went to Bangor, in North Wales, to attend a weekend 'initiation' conference. There, the Maharishi gave each of them a mantra.
The group spent the early part of 1968 in Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh, India, studying transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Their time at the Maharishi's ashram was highly productive from a musical standpoint, as many of the songs that would later be recorded for their next two albums were composed there by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison."
Fast forward 40 years to summer 2008. My friend and I, whilst travelling Northern India, find ourselves in the town close to where the Beatles stayed. We decide to take a visit to where the now-abandoned ashram sits, slowly being consumed by the surrounding forest.
The place has yet to become a tourist trap, and is guarded by an enterprising local man with a padlock, who allows you to enter for a 50 rupee fee. Inside lies abandoned mediation rooms, conference halls, a kitchen, offices, and bizarre mediation pods (including the ones where each of the Beatles stayed - we drank a beer on the roof of John's pod, number 9). There were cows walking around, and monkeys in amongst the trees. On top of one of the newer accommodation blocks were these strange domed water towers. We climbed up to the roof, drank a few beers and watched the sun set over the nearby Ganges.
This place will soon either be consumed completely by the forest, be demolished, or will become a tourist trap and the tranquil deserted atmosphere we experienced that day will be lost forever.
Truly one of my greatest experiences. Long live abandoned places.
More photographs from the trip.