Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram

Top choice in Rishikesh

Just south of Swarg Ashram is what’s left of the original Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, where the Beatles stayed and wrote much of the White Album (and a few tracks from Abbey Road). After decades of neglect, the Forest Department has reclaimed it from the jungle growth that had nearly consumed it, turning it into a pilgrimage site for fans, plus an evolving graffiti-art museum. Don't miss the meditation hall, with bizarre warrens of rock-lined hallways and striking street-art pieces.

There are numerous abandoned buildings to explore, some downright creepy, including the derelict lodging where the Beatles resided (along with the likes of Mike Love from the Beach Boys, Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence – whom the Beatles song was written after). Also here is the crumbling mansion where Maharishi Mahesh stayed. The meditation domes lost to the jungle also make for a surreal sight. Given the entire site is surrounded by jungle, an electric fence has recently been installed in an attempt to keep out leopard and elephant that are visitors.

To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Beatles visit, a permanent photograph exhibition was unveiled in 2018 of the snaps taken by Paul Saltzman (, one of the only photographers permitted inside the ashram, who documented their stay. There's also a room dedicated to Transcendental Meditation, which was established here by Maharishi Mahesh.