The Indian ashram where the Beatles stayed briefly on a retreat in 1968 has opened to the public. The government forestry agency in Uttarakhand, in northern India, announced Tuesday the spot was again accessible to tourists after 18 years of disrepair, according to the Huffington Post. Admission costs about $2 for locals and $10 for foreigners.
"We have cleaned up the place and lined the pathways with flowers. We are making some gardens and putting some benches for visitors," senior official Rajendra Nautiyal told BBC News. "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."
The Beatles visited Rishikesh to learn meditation under guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for varying amounts of time in 1968. Drummer Ringo Starr stayed for 10 days, and singer Paul McCartney left after three weeks. Singer John Lennon and guitarist George Harrison were there for two months, India Today reported. All in all, they penned more than 40 songs at the ashram -- several of which later appeared on "The White Album."
— Sodha Travel (@SodhaTravel) November 12, 2015
Maharishi later abandoned the ashram and died in 2008. The forestry department has owned the 18-acre area, named Chaurasi Kutia and often called "the yoga capital of the world," since 2003. Beatles fans have visited the site in droves but couldn't fully or legally access it until Tuesday, the 35th anniversary of Lennon's assassination.
"We want musicians from all over the world to come here to learn meditation," forest minister Dinesh Aggarwal told the Times of India. "Chaurasi Kutia Ashram will be known the world over for its spiritualism. The place is blessed with rich biodiversity, sound-proof huts with natural cooling. There is no parallel to it."
See photos from inside the ashram below:
— Yogita Limaye (@yogital) December 9, 2015
Located at around 1 hr 15 drive from our resort at Mussorie-Dancing Leaves stands 'The Beatles' ashram in Rishikesh pic.twitter.com/NSZKlAG4KT
— Sterling Holidays (@WorldOfSterling) November 12, 2015
— Trinetra Tours (@Trinetra_Tours) October 15, 2015