Mon, Dec 5, 2016 | updated 02:02 PM IST

Breaking age-old taboo, Vrindavan's widows celebrate Diwali inside Gopinath temple

Updated: Oct 30, 2016 09:47 IST

Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Oct. 30 (ANI): Breaking an age-old taboo, hundreds of widows for the first time marked Diwali by celebrating it inside the Gopinath temple here.

"I am very happy. I celebrated Diwali after a very long time. The last time I celebrated this festival was when my husband was alive," said Urmila Shukla.

Sulabh International chairman Bindeshwar Pathak, who organised the function, said the motive behind the celebration was to make women happy.

"Today, they are filled with joy and happiness. They are very excited," Pathak told ANI.

Widows lit lamps, burnt crackers and danced.

For years, the widows of Vrindavan have not been allowed to celebrate Diwali inside the temple. This year, they decided to forget their painful reminisces and get on with life.

Vrindavan has an ancient past, associated with Hindu history, and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. One of its oldest surviving temples is the Govinda Dev temple, built in 1590, with the town founded earlier in the same century. The essence of Vrindavan was lost over time until the 16th century, when it was rediscovered by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the year 1515, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Vrindavana, with the purpose of locating the lost holy places associated with Lord Krishna's transcendent pastimes.

Chaitanya wandered through the different sacred forests of Vrindavana in a spiritual trance of divine love. It was believed that by His divine spiritual power, he was able to locate all the important places of Krishna's pastimes in and around Vrindavana.

Rajasthan princess Meera Bai left the kingdom of Mewar and went on pilgrimages. In her last 14 years, Meera lived in a temple called Pracheen Meerabai in Vrindavan. Meera Bai is the most famous female Hindu spiritual poet, whose compositions are still popular throughout North India.

In the last 250 years, the extensive forests of Vrindavan have been subjected to urbanization. (ANI)