A rare group of photographs documenting the Beatles’ historic visit to Rishikesh, India, in 1968 have surfaced in a 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.
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.
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.”