Shunned widows on nostalgia trip this Durga Puja

It will be a sort of homecoming for around 50 Bengal widows in Vrindavan when they step out of iconic Howrah railway station to celebrate Durga Puja in Kolkata this time.


Around 50 widows in their ripe old age who were shunned by their families and asked to leave their homes in Bengal will be visiting the City of Joy for the first time to participate in Durga Puja.


Festivities would unfold all around when the widows, many of whom in the 80s, when they reach the city on September 25. “The widows, who might have last seen the city several decades back, would be given a traditional welcome at Howrah railway station,” said Bindeshwar Pathak, founder director of Sulabh International, which has adopted hundreds of Vrindavan widows.


Beating of drums and blowing of conch shells will mark the occasion. It will be flowers all the way as 100 kilo flower petals would be used for the grand event to welcome them.

The widows will cross the Hooghly river to refresh their memories of Howrah Bridge. They will be visiting Kumartuli to see for themselves how life is breathed into the idols of Goddess Durga by the artisans there, he added.


During their week-long stay, they will enjoy tram and Metro rides apart from visiting dozens of puja pandals. These widows also plan to visit the famous Kalighat besides visiting Victoria Memorial and some other attractions in the city.

Several widows, including 95-year-old Kanak Lata Devi, who has been living in Vrindavan for around 45 years, desire to meet the Governor and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“This is a novel idea that will give them a break from their monotonous life at the ashrams,” said Pathak. “Their trip to Kolkata is an effort to bring some joy and sense of belongingness to their lives. They are going back to the land of their ancestors.”

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