On Beatles 50th anniversary, recalling a stopover at Rishikesh!

By Hindustan Times

On October 5, 1962, four lads from Liverpool, England, released their first single - Love Me Do - and took nano steps toward being living legends.

Early 1968, having already given the world a new word, 'Beatlemania', thanks to the intense fan frenzy never seen before, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr came thousands of miles way to a till-then-nondescript Himalayan town called Rishikesh. Their aim: to learn transcendental meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Fifty years on, as the world gets set to celebrate the momentous occasion of Love Me Do's release on Friday, the Uttarakhand government has proposed to open 'AYUSH village' at Chaurashi Kutia, where the band members lived during their three-month stay at the ashram.

Maharishi had got a 20-year lease from the then Uttar Pradesh forest department for the ashram, popularly known as 'Chaurasi Kutia' (84 huts). The Ashram is now part of Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand.

"The National Board of Wildlife is considering the government's proposal for AYUSH village and has given us a few suggestions," Rajaji National Park director Subudhi told HT.

Recalling his tryst with history five decades ago, septuagenarian Ajit Singh, who runs Pratap Music Store in Dehradun, said it still feels like yesterday when he played the 'Vichetra Veena' in Rishikesh on George Harrison's 25th birthday on February 25, 1968.

Singh said the 'Fab Four', inspired by their stay at Rishikesh, gave an Indian touch to some of their songs. They wrote several songs while in Rishikesh that figured in their albums The White Album and Yellow Submarine.

Interestingly, they also penned a number, 'Dehradun Dehradun' - though the song never got released, it is available on Youtube.
"The Beatles gave a new identity to Rishikesh, which has now become an internationally known tourist destination," said Vipin Kumar, who runs a rafting company called Red Chilli Adventures.

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