The City of Widows


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“Widow. The word consumes itself.”
(Sylvia Plath – American Poet and Novelist, 1932-1963)

This is the entrance of Sri Radha Raman Mandir constructed at the request of Gopala Bhatta Goswami around 1542, it is one most revered temples of Vrindavan, especially by the Goswamis.
It still houses the original saligram deity of Krishna, alongside Radharani.

Vrindavan (Brindavan) is located in Mathura district in the Indian sate of Uttar Pradesh, this city was built on the site of an ancient forest which is believed to have been the region where the famous cowherd boy, Krishna, spent his childhood days.
It is about 15km away from Mathura city (Krishna’s birthplace), near the Agra-Delhi highway.
The town includes many hundreds of temples dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna and is considered sacred by a number of religious traditions such as Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism, and Hinduism in general.

Vrindavan is also known as the City of Widows.
According to some Hindu traditions, upper-caste widows may not remarry, so many of those abandoned by their families on the death of their husband make their way here.
There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 widows living on the streets, many of whom have spent over 30 years there.
An organization called Guild of Service was formed to assist these deprived women.

While I was walking through the city I could hear them singing bhajan hymns for hours.
I was so touched by those women that I met in those temples and ashrams that I didn’t take many pictures.

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