19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
Breaking the tradition

Vrindavan is known as"the city of widows" .widows in India is still disheartening as they are shunned by their communities and abandoned by their families .They wear plain white saris as a sign of mourning for as long as they live and must abide by severe diet restrictions.Their presence at rituals, ceremonies and celebrations is considered inauspicious..They often live in acute poverty and are ostracized by society due to various superstitions - even the shadow of a widow can wreak havoc and bring bad luck, people believe. Lack of education and any source of income forces them to beg on streets and many turn to prostitution for survival. In recent years, traditions have been broken: NGOs and international fashion designers are training women in textile and other craft production, for which they are paid. The widows are provided with lessons in Bengali, English and Hindi literacy, as well as financial and healthcare support like cataract operation camp, Regular pressure check up system etc.Their participation in Holi symbolises a break from tradition which forbids a widow from wearing coloured saree, among many other things,"

Photo Detail
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Vrindaban, India
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III