Columbus, Ohio, USA

City of Widows

In parts of India, widows are heavily stigmatized. After the deaths of their husbands, these women may be cast out of their families, seen as undesirable and a source of bad luck. Over the years, thousands have relocated to central India’s state of Uttar Pradesh – specifically, to Vrindavan, the sacred city where the Hindu deity Krishna is believed to have spent part of his childhood. Vrindavan is also a major devotional site within ISKCON, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (more commonly known as the hare krishna movement). As of 2019, an estimated 6,000 widows resided in Vrindavan, where they spend the remainder of their lives in austerity and piety.

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