The Beatles' Indian Retreat Opened to Tourists

The Beatles' Indian Retreat Opened to Tourists
Those hoping to follow in the Beatles' footsteps in India are now in luck, because the Indian ashram that the Fab Four visited in 1968 has now been opened to the public.

When the Beatles visited the spiritual retreat, it was run by the late guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who had leased it in 1957. The musicians spent their time studying meditation and writing songs for their subsequent self-titled double LP (known colloquially as The White Album).

Eventually, the ashram was abandoned in the '70s and it fell into disrepair. Beatles fans reportedly continued to visit the site and would sneak in by climbing over the walls. The forestry department eventually took it over in 2003, and it is now allowing tourists inside.

"We have cleaned up the place and lined the pathways with flowers. We are making some gardens and putting some benches for visitors," forestry official Rajendra Nautiyal told the BBC. "We are introducing a nature trail and bird walk. We also plan to set up a cafeteria and a souvenir shop at some point. We want to retain the place's rustic look."

Indian tourists will be charged 150 rupees ($3.05), while foreign visitors will be charged 700 rupees ($14.23).

The Beatles' stay at the ashram was a famously rocky one. Drummer Ringo Starr and his wife left after just 10 days amidst complaints about the insects and food, while Paul McCartney left after a month. The Maharishi was eventually accused of financial and sexual impropriety, and John Lennon and George Harrison left after six weeks.