Beatles magical tour of India

By- Ishita Goel

Some facts that made headlines during and after the visit Beatles to India

In February 1968, English rock band Beatles embarked on their journey to Rishikesh in India to study Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While this was not the first time that the Beatles were meeting the Maharishi, they first met him in 1967, when the Maharishi was in London and then again in a seminar in Bangor, Wales. Many believe that the Beatles were so impressed by Indian spirituality and meditation that they later adopted Maharishi as their guru. Here are some of the facts that made headlines during and after their visit to India.  

A productive period

The Beatles wrote more than 30 songs while in Rishikesh, which includes hits like "Julia", "Dear Prudence," and "Yer Blues". It was one of the most productive periods in their musical career. While a majority of the songs written during their stay were recorded for the White Album and Abbey Road, several other compositions from the period later ended up on the members' solo albums. 

Tryst with Ravi Shankar

The Beatles were so entranced by Indian maestro Ravi Shankar's scintillating expertise in Sitar that a year later, George Harrison, the band's lead guitarist, flew to India to learn the rustic instrument straight from the maestro.

Most committed

Of all the Beatles at the ashram, Harrison and Lennon were the ones who were most devoted to meditation. "I wrote hundreds of songs. I couldn't sleep, and I was hallucinating like crazy, having dreams where you could smell," Cynthia Lennon said in Bob Spitz's book The Beatles." Lennon said in The Beatles Anthology. "I was in a room for five days meditating."

A tough time

While others adjusted to the food, Ringo Starr always had a sensitive stomach. So he had a lot of difficulties adjusting to the spicy Indian food. He also carried a suitcase full of Heinz baked beans while he was traveling to India. 

Others who made a difference

The Maharishi Ashram is mostly famous for the Beatles. Still, there were other noteworthy celebrities, like Scottish guitarist Donovan, American actress Mia Farrow and American songwriter Mike Love, too had visited the place at the same time. It was Donovan who taught John the string-plucking technique on the guitar, which the latter used to compose "Dear Prudence".