A new exhibition chronicling the exploits of the Fab Four in India has been unveiled at The Beatles Story, an award-winning museum dedicated to the lives of one of the world’s biggest bands.
Fifty years ago this month, the Beatles left the UK for the Indian city of Rishikesh, situated on the banks of the Ganges River in the foothills of the Himalayas. John Lennon and George Harrison arrived on February 15, 1968, followed a few days later by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
Seeking peace and spirituality away from fans’ attention and the glare of the media spotlight, the group embarked on a fascinating journey that would help to inspire their personal lives and song writing in the years to come.
Making use of never-before-seen memorabilia, imagery and personal accounts from the people who travelled to India with the band, the Beatles In India exhibition sheds light on what has been described as a “key and relatively secretive part of the Beatles’ story”.
One of the exhibition’s most fascinating pieces is a sitar used by Ravi Shankar for practice and composition work. The instrument, which is on loan from the Ravi Shankar Foundation, is used to explain Shankar’s role as George Harrison’s mentor and how the Indian musician’s influence helped to popularise the use of Indian instruments in 60s pop music.
Iconic and intimate photographs taken by Paul Saltzman, then a sound engineer for the National Film Board of Canada, form a key part of the exhibition.
The personal experiences of Pattie Boyd, former wife to George Harrison, and her sister Jenny Boyd, provide even greater depth.
Pattie Boyd said: “I am delighted to have been invited to be a part of The Beatles Story’s new Beatles In India exhibition, marking the 50th anniversary of the trip to Rishikesh.
“It really was a special, magical time; forming many memories and, of course, an abundance of great Beatles music. I look forward to sharing thoughts and memories of India as part of the exhibition.”
The Beatles in India will run as part of The Beatles Story at Liverpool’s Albert Dock for the next two years. A year-long programme of unique Indian-inspired events, including workshops and Q&A sessions, are set to take place throughout 2018, all linked to what would have been George Harrison’s 75th birthday.
Main image: ©Paul Saltzman