Jai Guru Deva Om [Rishikesh, India]
The Beatles Ashram, which includes The Beatles Cathedral Gallery, is tucked away in the hills on the bank of the Ganges in Rishikesh (India). It spans 14 acres, and I found it to be an awesome place, as I walked around it for hours, filming and taking photographs of art and history.
In many ways this place is inextricably linked to the Beatles' LSD period (particularly John Lennon's). This is not just due to the timing of their stay here (post Sgt Pepper), but also the psychedelic art which is all over the place, the lyrics which are painted on walls and floors, and the eery meditation huts of which there are dozens.
Scribbled on the floor of the Beatles Cathedral Gallery for example are the lyrics of 'Tomorrow Never Knows':
"Turn off your mind relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining.
Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being
Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving
So play the game "Existence" to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning"
If you have never heard this song, it is perhaps worth listening to it whilst tripping. To say it was groundbreaking is an understatement. On the LSD dimension alone though, Wikipedia states that [It has since been recognised as "the most effective evocation of a LSD experience ever recorded", in author Colin Larkin's description, and as a song that introduced into popular music lyrical themes espousing mind expansion, anti-materialism and Eastern spirituality.]
The general ambience of Rishikesh itself couldn't be more perfect for its location. I not only refer to the Ganges, but the general hippie vibe of this side of the river, with yoga and meditation on offer metaphorically on every corner.
Overall, it is the sort of place where you sometimes feel that you are tripping even though you are not. If you ever get a chance to go there take it.