RELIGION

AP PHOTOS: Isolation of Indian widows appears to be changing

  • An Indian Hindu widow laughs as she wears a Sari backstage before participating in a fashion show fashion show in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Until recently, Indian widows were expected to follow the sociocultural codes of a patriarchal Hindu society that demands a woman lead a life of asceticism after a husband’s death. Their lives appear to be changing for better with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    An Indian Hindu widow laughs as she wears a Sari backstage before participating in a fashion show fashion show in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Until recently, Indian widows were expected to follow the sociocultural codes of a patriarchal Hindu society that demands a woman lead a life of asceticism after a husband’s death. Their lives appear to be changing for better with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Indian Hindu widow practices to walk on the runway before a fashion show in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Until recently, Indian widows were expected to follow the sociocultural codes of a patriarchal Hindu society that demands a woman lead a life of asceticism after a husband’s death. Their lives appear to be changing for better with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    An Indian Hindu widow practices to walk on the runway before a fashion show in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Until recently, Indian widows were expected to follow the sociocultural codes of a patriarchal Hindu society that demands a woman lead a life of asceticism after a husband’s death. Their lives appear to be changing for better with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Indian Hindu widow helps another just before stepping onto the ramp during a fashion show in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. In most of India, millions of Hindu widows are expected to live out their days in quiet worship, dressed only in white. They are typically barred from all religious festivities because their very presence is considered inauspicious. Their lives appear to be changing for better with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    An Indian Hindu widow helps another just before stepping onto the ramp during a fashion show in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. In most of India, millions of Hindu widows are expected to live out their days in quiet worship, dressed only in white. They are typically barred from all religious festivities because their very presence is considered inauspicious. Their lives appear to be changing for better with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)  (The Associated Press)

In most of India, millions of Hindu widows are expected to live out their days in quiet worship, dressed only in white. They are typically barred from all religious festivities because their very presence is considered inauspicious.

Until recently, Indian widows were expected to follow the sociocultural codes of a patriarchal Hindu society that demands a woman lead a life of asceticism after a husband's death.

But slowly, widows are moving toward modernity.

The holy city of Vrindavan, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, is known as the City of Widows because it has given shelter to thousands of poor women. Their lives appear to be changing for the better, with women's groups and Indian aid organizations taking interest in their welfare.

The widows are breaking age-old traditions of staying aloof by actively participating in Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali. They went a step further recently, participating in a fashion show.