Beatles in India: Photos From Pattie Boyd

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George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Beatles assistant Mal Evans, Paul McCartney and Cynthia Lennon during a break at Rishikesh (Prev. unexhibited photo: © Pattie Boyd; used with permission)

A rare group of photographs documenting the Beatles’ historic visit to Rishikesh, India, in 1968 surfaced in a 2018 portfolio compiled by Pattie Boyd, the former wife of George Harrison and the celebrated model of “Swinging Sixties” London.

12 of the 16 black-and-whte photographs in Pattie Boyd and The Beatles in Rishikesh have never been exhibited.

The photos were revealed in December 2018.

John and Cynthia Lennon attending a private lecture with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Prev. unexhibited photo: © Pattie Boyd; used with permission)

During her ten-year marriage to George Harrison, Pattie Boyd was a prominent member of the Beatles’ inner circle and enjoyed the kind of access to the group that only a handful of people would ever know. Boyd introduced Harrison to Transcendental Meditation in August 1967, and she accompanied the Beatles the following year when they made their historic trek to Rishikesh, a small town near the foothills of the Himalayas. Well known as a religious center that has attracted yogis and gurus for centuries, Rishikesh was home to the ashram of TM’s progenitor, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

In the decades since, Boyd has enjoyed fame as a best-selling author and photographer.

Pattie Boyd at the Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh (Prev. unexhibited photo: © Pattie Boyd; used with permission)

“The few photographs Pattie has exhibited of Rishikesh represent documentary photography at its finest,” Dr. Michael DeMarsche, an art consultant who is handling all enquiries into the purchase of the portfolio, told Best Classic Bands. “Last summer, I asked Pattie if she had taken any additional photographs of the Beatles in Rishikesh. I was shocked when she showed me so many. None of them had been exhibited. We felt they needed to be seen together and decided to compile a portfolio. This makes it far easier and affordable for private collectors and museums to purchase and exhibit them.”

Boyd and Harrison arrived in Rishikesh on Feb. 15, 1968, accompanied by her sister, Jenny, and John and Cynthia Lennon. Paul McCartney and his then-girlfriend, Jane Asher, arrived with Ringo and Maureen Starr on Feb. 19.

Related: Boyd’s memoir has been delayed

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon at the Maharishi’s compound in Rishikesh (Photo: © Pattie Boyd; used with permission)

When she photographed the Beatles at the Maharishi’s secluded compound, Boyd’s intimate relationship with the group allowed her to move around freely and unobtrusively. Her presence with a camera was hardly noticed by the Beatles and their entourage of wives and close friends. The result is a body of photographs that provide a unique and penetrating gaze into the daily life of the Beatles while living in the Maharishi’s camp.

“You have to understand that the Maharishi vigilantly guarded the Beatles’ privacy,” said DeMarsche. “The international press was rarely allowed in the compound. The photographs of George, John and Cynthia Lennon with the Maharishi were taken during private lectures, which he seldom granted. Who else but Pattie Boyd could have taken photographs during these extraordinarily intimate moments? Pattie’s photographs are the only ones I know that provide such a candid view of the Beatles’ private world in Rishikesh. There is nothing like them. There are so many unguarded moments in these photographs. They contain the kind of insights that only a true Beatles insider could have revealed.”

There was also music. The output of songs written by the Beatles while there was prolific. A number of them surfaced on Abbey Road in 1969. But the majority of Rishikesh songs formed the heart of the album recorded when they returned, acknowledged to be one of their most experimental, The Beatles – commonly referred to as The White Album.

Related: White Album facts and trivia

Ringo Starr, Cynthia and John Lennon, Jane Asher and Paul McCartney (Prev. unexhibited photo: © Pattie Boyd; used with permission)

For serious enquiries into the purchase of the portfolio Pattie Boyd and The Beatles in Rishikesh, try emailing DeMarsche Museum and Art Consultancy, Amsterdam at demarmp (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Best Classic Bands Staff

5 Comments so far

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  1. Hand and 7
    #1 Hand and 7 13 December, 2018, 10:47

    Great pics…of the beatles

    Reply this comment
  2. Buck
    #2 Buck 14 December, 2018, 01:21

    Greatest place for information of music

    Reply this comment
  3. @man_daddio
    #3 @man_daddio 14 December, 2018, 06:23

    I like looking at these kinds of things. Getting a glimpse of the past that we never got a chance to see. John Lennon was getting a little plumpy. That doesn’t even look like him. Very scruffy.

    Reply this comment
    • Ed Sullivan
      Ed Sullivan 14 December, 2018, 11:22

      From all the photos I’ve seen of that place, showering or bathing facilities were non-existent or not used. That explains why everyone looks a mess.

      John said he lost at least 10 pounds on that trip, so “plump” is not what you’re seeing.

      Reply this comment
  4. Hippie chick
    #4 Hippie chick 6 March, 2019, 15:08

    Yes!! 🙂

    Reply this comment

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