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It will a homecoming of sorts for over 50 widows from West Bengal who now lives in Vrindavan as they travel to Kolkata to celebrate Durga Puja later this month. These widows, who have made ashrams of the holy city as their homes after deaths of their husband and shunned by their families, will be in the ‘City of Joy’ for a week from September 25.

These widows have been invited by various renowned Puja committees of Kolkata to be part of their celebrations, and they are also likely to be honoured by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Delhi-based NGO Sulabh International, which takes care of all the needs of over 1,000 widows besides giving them a monthly stipend, has made all travel and other arrangements for them. “It is a novel idea for these widows who now live a lonely life, totally cut off from society…They will get a break from their monotonous lives in the ashrams. Their trip to Kolkata is an effort to bring some joy to their lives and sense of belongingness. It is not just a Puja tour for them; they are going back to the land of their ancestors. It is a journey down memory lane for them…It is like a homecoming,” said Sulabh International founder and head Bindeshwar Pathak.

Apart from participating in Durja Puja celebrations, these widows will also enjoy historic tram and Metro ride, and a ferry ride cross the Hooghly. They also plan to visit famous Kali Bari, Victoria Memorial and Chowringhee.

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