Well actually it almost certainly isn’t true, although it is a shame to let the facts spoil a good story.
Most young Nepalese have grown up with the ‘legend’ that the great rock legends visited Nepal, following the hippie trail of the1960s. The slogan above was used on a poster by the Nepalese Tourist Board – without the question mark. Unfortunately there is no credible evidence that either John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix or Bob Marley visited the country.
In the remote mountainous region of Jomsom in Nepal there is a stone plaque on which are scribbled the words “If I don’t see you in this world I’ll see you in the next one don’t be late – Jimi Hendrix – Jomsom Oct 67 “. However, even a cursory look at the Hendrix biography shows that he was very busy with his burgeoning career that year, flying between concerts in America and Sweden and spending the remaining time in the recording studio. Neither did he appear to conform to the ‘hippie-seeker’ stereotype. There is no evidence that he ever showed any interest in visiting the Indian sub-continent, or Nepal itself.
The same could be said for Bob Marley who co-incidentally is said to have visited the same area in 1970. As he was busy trying to earn a living in Jamaica that year, he would not have had the time, resources or inclination to travel to remote mountain regions in Nepal. Yet in Muktinath there are numerous commercial establishments claiming he ate or slept there. This of course hints at why the ‘legend’ has been perpetuated. It seems for Nepalese businessmen in Jomsom, a rock legend is the next best thing to a Yeti. When he was able to travel for pleasure, in 1978, Bob Marley went to Africa to explore his Rastafarian roots, rather than follow the hippie trail.
John Lennon, a man with more conventional hippie sensibilities, certainly travelled to India, with the other Beatles, for spiritual enlightenment. Their travels are well documented, and it is known that they didn’t quite make it to Nepal. John does mention Kathmandu however , in his lyrics for “Nobody Told Me”.