top of page


July 7, 2023


Photography and essay by Abhay Patel
Introduction by Melanie Meggs

As the vibrant Holi festival descended upon the ancient city of Vrindavan, it brought with it a unique celebration – the Widow’s Holi. Street and documentary photographer, Abhay Patel, had the opportunity to capture this special moment in his lens and bring to life the emotions and colors of this joyous occasion. While most of us look forward to Holi to indulge in the fun of exuberant colors and good vibes, these widows come to Vrindavan to forget their grief and experience the much needed solace. Abhay’s photographs beautifully tell the story of this unique festival which is an extraordinary mix of sorrow and joy. Join us on this journey as we explore the lives of these strong women and how they find the courage to celebrate.


When I first started planning my trip to Mathura for Holi, I was excited at the prospect of experiencing widow's Holi for the first time. I had heard about this unique celebration from many of my friends who had already visited the holy city of Vrindavan and had seen first-hand the variety of Holis celebrated there. As I prepared for the trip, I was filled with anticipation, eager to see this special festival of colors for myself.

When I arrived in Vrindavan, I was immediately struck by the atmosphere of the city. The streets were filled with hundreds of children and women from all parts of India. It was a unique sight to see these widows participating in the festivities of Holi and dancing and singing in the streets with one another. Seeing these women, who had endured unimaginable loss and hardship, enjoying themselves and celebrating life made me realise how powerful their spirit was.

I was also deeply moved by the celebration of Widow’s Holi. The joyous gathering of women from all walks of life was a reminder that even in times of loss, we can still find joy and strength in each other. The vibrant colors of Holi were an outward expression of the inner strength of these widows, who in spite of their struggles still found beauty and joy in life. Witnessing this celebration gave me a newfound appreciation for the resilience and strength of women.

Let us take inspiration from these brave souls and use it to colour our world with love, peace and hope. Let us remember the power of a woman's empathy, kindness and strength, which is unlike any other. To all the women out there – no matter the difficulties you face, you are enough. Don't let anyone try to take away your power or your voice – be strong and courageous!

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and are not necessarily shared by The Pictorial List and the team.

read more
stories >>>

bottom of page