Mar 10, 2013

It calls me on and on, across the universe

Posted by Mary |

Although I tried to be vigilant about posting on my latest trip to India, my netbook ran afoul of Indian power fluctuations. The power source died in Rishikesh, leaving us with just my cellphone to connect. No good.

What was good in Rishikesh, though, was the shopping and massages and, oh yeah, breaking into the Beatles ashram.  One of the highlights of the trip, for sure. Before we got to India, I mentioned to Terri that the ashram the Beatles stayed at in the 60s was in Rishikesh. It's been abandoned for some time now, and is slowly decaying back into to woods. It's locked up and no one is allowed to go in, so I suggested that we simply find our way inside. Terri was game, so we set off down the road one day, in search of the Maharishi Mahesh Ashram.

We were staying by the Laxman Jhula footbridge. After breakfast, we headed down the road toward the Ram Jhula footbridge. The ashram is located on the far side of Ram Jhula, downstream from the bridge.Because it was early in the day, we actually got a bit turned around. We walked past the plaza that leads to the footbridge, and kept on down the road. You want to find your way all the way down by the footbridge and keep going downstream.

As you continue downstream, you will reach this temple. Keep going past it and down the road.

Eventually, the road will turn to dirt, and you'll come to a sharp S curve with this yellow gate. Keep going.

The sign for the Beatles ashram is confirmation that you are headed in the right direction.

Finally, the road sort of ends at this dry riverbed. The place straight across is occupied, and someone may come out to chat with you. I wouldn't recommend telling them you plan to go in.

If you turn left and walk up the river bed, you'll find the locked front gates on the right, about where those men and motorcycles are.

Locked front gate. You won't get in through here.

Ha! But I wouldn't bring you all this way without getting you inside, too.

Keep going up the dry riverbed, and you'll see this path off to the right. It's just past the ashram. Go up this path.

Keep looking to the right, and you'll see these two logs across a little side trail. If they've been put here to keep you out, chances are you want to go in. Climb over these logs and go up the hill.

Crumbling wall = success!

The actual ashram photos will have to wait for another day, when I catch up on my backlog of photos and posts. I wanted to get these directions up quickly because a friend has just returned to India for another visit, and may be trying to locate the ashram as well. There are many amazing things to see inside the ashram walls. Tip: As you climb the road inside, you'll start seeing meditation pods on the right. Once you get to the circle past the little guard shack, you'll see many more meditation pods on the right. Those are fun to explore, and have the start of the Beatles graffiti. For most of it, though, you'll want to head to the left from the circle and walk down the road. There are some amazing abandoned buildings there, including the Beatles Cathedral, which is about halfway down the road on the left side.