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AGRA: A group of 125 old widows from Vrindavan and Varanasi were given a tour of Taj Mahal and the adjoining Agra Fort by the ASI on the occasion of

International Women's Day. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) played host to the widows providing them with a guided tour of Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort — both UNESCO World Heritage sites.

"Many events are organised for women on this occasion, but somehow they (widows) are left out. We came across several new stories about their lives in recent times, which in turn motivated us to organise this event," ASI Superintending Archaeologist (Agra) N K Pathak said.

"We want to send out a message that they are also an integral part of society and deserve attention and affection," he said. Pathak said the department invited 125 widows to visit the monuments. "A group of widows from Varanasi present in Vrindavan to celebrate Holi took a round of the Taj and Agra Fort," he said.

"For centuries widows have been virtually ostracised by the society. Such initiatives will go a long way in bridging these gaps," said Bindeshwar Pathak, the mentor of Sulabh International which played a significant role in chalking out the details of the initiative.

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