Will request PM to hand over Chaurasi Kutia maintenance: minister

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Dehradun, Dec 19 (PTI) Uttarakhand minister Satpal Maharaj has said he would request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hand over to the Tourism Department the maintenance of 'Chaurasi Kutia' ashram in Rishikesh where the Beatles learnt meditation in 1968.

Maharaj said on Friday he had asked the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Council to prepare a detailed proposal that would be submitted to Modi on developing 'Chaurasi Kutia' (84 huts) as a world heritage site.

The site, which is maintained at present by the Forest Department, has become dilapidated due to lack of proper care, according to the tourism and culture minister.

The move is necessary to develop the ashram as a world heritage site capable of attracting both national and international tourists because of its pristine location on the banks of the Ganga and its association with the creative journey of Beatles, he said.

Owned by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Chaurasi Kutiya is the site where the Beatles nearly three months in 1968 learning transcendental meditation and composed some of their most famous songs, which were subsequently included in a double album released by the band.

Maharaj also asked the council officials to start work on developing a safari park, adding that he was in talks with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to bring a white tiger to Uttarakhand.

The minister added that the mandatory requirement for an inner-line permit to visit places of tourist interest at Niti valley in Chamoli district had been removed. He directed officials to prepare for starting a pilgrimage to Timmersain Mahadev, where ice 'linga' form inside a cave at the onset of winter.

He asked officials to make optimum use of the audio-visual mediums to acquaint the world outside with the unique culture of Uttarakhand and attract tourists to the state. PTI ALM HMB