'Widows, the social outcasts of Varanasi'

'Once the husband dies, the torture of the wife begins, as if the messengers of the death God Yama have come to take away her soul.' 


Over 38,000 Widows discarded from their families and recognised as a social outcasts, become apart of the ongoing chaos of the infamously holy city of Varanasi.  The toll of death for widows extends beyond grieving your deceased husband within the Hindu culture; it also includes the likes of discrimination, ostracism but also finding a means of surviving when you have no one to turn to and no money to live off. Which in many widows cases can include begging and prostitution. 


There is however a certain means of refuge that has been put in place for these women; within Ashrams and charity houses, there is an offering of communal rooms and hot meals. This includes the Nepali Ashram, nestled in amongst the labyrinth of other crumbling Varanasi buildings, it houses not only young brahmins learning scriptures but also 22 widows.


This photo series analyses some of the Widows present within the Nepali Ashram, capturing the beauty of these women within their environment and intimate moments of their day to day lives. But the beauty is contrasted with the knowing of that most have been pushed out of their families, relinquishing pleasures in life and await to die. 










Lauren Rooney | MissLRPhotography@gmail.com | 07718593322