What Brought The Hippies To India?
Beatles at Rishikesh
The Hippie culture is a counter culture that began in the United States and soon spread across the globe. This culture fought against the mainstream way of living and introduced a liberal, unconventional and definitely a radical lifestyle.The hippies’ believed that the dominant system was violent and so sort after a Utopian society that embraced love, peace and free-living.
Influence Of The Anti-war Protests
Anti-war protests were something that instigated the hippie movement. Many youngsters went against the US military for their involvement in the Vietnam War. This is what brought about the sudden need for peace and love in the society. Many singers like Bob Dylan sang songs to promote peace and antiwar themes.
What Brought Hippies To India?
The hippie culture was a cultural shock to the western society. Interestingly, the hippie culture was highly inspired by the eastern spirituality and philosophy. The eastern spirituality and the mysteries of the east gained attention, and this brought many young minds from the west to the east. This was also because the east suddenly seemed like a space that was quite different and was away from the conventional culture. One of the most sort-after eastern spaces was India.
India was the passage for many hippies to slip away in to a contradicting yet liberating life.
India’s mystic cultures and the religious practices were brought to light. Many hippies embraced these forms because they found peace in these ideologies. There are many western celebrities of this time who came to India and propagated the eastern philosophies. They began to embrace a spirituality that is more liberating and focused on the self and the society.
The western religion seemed restricting to many youngsters. With the war and the violence that they witnessed on one side, the singular religion did not seem to make sense. Instead, a philosophy that allowed pluralism in all walks of life was more attractive and liberating. Many began to embrace Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, Hinduism, and neo-paganism.’
The Hippie Trail
The hippie trail is a trip that the western hippies took from their land to the eastern side of the world. They visited India, Pakistan and Nepal. The hippies took the cheapest means of transport like bus and made an attempt to engage with the local eastern cultures during their visit.
Indian Spaces That Celebrated The Hippie Culture
Goa is one place that attracted many young hippies. The Goan land was the ideal space for these like-minded men and women to come unite and free themselves of the obligations and conventions. In fact, Goa continues to be a space for the hippie culture to thrive. At Goa, many people still come to celebrate peace and love and keep the hippie legacy.
Idukki in the south of India is yet another serene and mountainous place that has been attracting many hippies. Idukki has also been one among the favorite hippie spaces because of the pot that one can find in this land.
The Paradise beach also known as the Full moon beach is another most sort after hippie destination in India. This place also got its popularity because of the weed that is sold here. The beach is isolated from the world which goes along with the hippie principle of being detached from the society.
The Beatles in India
The Beatles embraced the hippie ideologies and even inspired many youngsters to do so. They visited India in the year 1968 along with their friends and family to attend a transcendental meditation. The Beatles was trained by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in "the Valley of the Saints" at the foothills of the Himalayas. Their visit to Rishikesh in India inspired many other hippies. In fact, it is also said that it is during this time that the Beatles produced many of their songs. The Beatles were trained in the Transcendental meditation with other popular artists like Donovan, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and flautist Paul Horn.
After the Beatles showed interest in the Indian spirituality, the many fans from west began to pay more attention to Indian ways and its culture. They were encouraged to travel to India for the Transcendental meditation during this time.
George Harrison learning to play the Sitar
India, still a land of the hippies
India continues to be the land that invites many hippies. There are many people who sill visit the Goan beaches and other hippie spaces to connect with nature and to detach themselves from the mainstreams culture.
However, in many places in India, the hippie culture has been commercialized as well. Hence, it is always best to do some research and ask around before you go to these prominnet hippie destinations.