Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Roughly 100 miles from New Delhi, widowed women live together in the Meera Sahavagini ashram.

Roughly 100 miles from New Delhi, widowed women live together in the Meera Sahavagini ashram in Vrindavan, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. According to Reuters, many Hindu women are "expected to renounce all earthly pleasures, such as wearing colourful clothes or looking attractive" when their husband dies or risk "social discrimination." These women attend education and training classes at the ashram, operated by the NGO Sulabh International.

Adnan Abidi took some images for Reuters of this community last week. The photographer described life at the ashram:

Hindu widows are branded as inauspicious by society and are forbidden to wear any form of color or be a part of any kind of celebrations like marriage and childbirth, hence most find respite amid their own kind, and seek solace in sorrow. As I spent my day with them I realized that learning was the best part of their day. Each of them would get up early, bathe and offer prayers together in the hall before resuming their daily chores of making prayer beads and flower garlands.

Widows with their sewing machines attend a training class at the Meera Sahavagini ashram.
Widows attend a class at the Meera Sahavagini ashram.
A widow prepares her bed at the Meera Sahavagini ashram.
Widows eat inside their room at the Meera Sahavagini ashram.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  2. Equity

    Berlin Builds an Arsenal of Ideas to Stage a Housing Revolution

    The proposals might seem radical—from banning huge corporate landlords to freezing rents for five years—but polls show the public is ready for something dramatic.

  3. Two men plant a young tree in a lot in Detroit.
    Environment

    Why Detroit Residents Pushed Back Against Tree-Planting

    Detroiters were refusing city-sponsored “free trees.” A researcher found out the problem: She was the first person to ask them if they wanted them.

  4. A gun-control rally in Pittsburgh's Market Square, Saturday, March 24, 2018.
    Equity

    Inside Pittsburgh's Battle Over Gun Control Laws

    Pittsburgh could be the bellwether city in Pennsylvania, defying state law to pass gun control ordinances, but first it has to get past its own district attorney.

  5. A photo of a design maquette for the Obama Presidential Center planned for Jackson Park and designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
    Design

    Why the Case Against the Obama Presidential Center Is So Important

    A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by Chicago preservationists can proceed, dealing a blow to Barack Obama's plans to build his library in Jackson Park.