In Pune, a city in the western progressive part of Maharashtra, a shift is happening in the Indian Hindu traditions. Here, women have been training to become female priests, breaking with the idea of a male and Brahmin dominated practice.
In today‘s Indian society there is an increased acceptance of women entering priesthood, with the priestesses sometimes even being preferred over their male counterparts – who are believed to take their role for granted. The priestesses especially distinguish themselves by offering explanations and insights into the performed rituals.
By taking on this role these female priests greatly support the empowerment of women in a traditional religious context while also promoting social reform.
Photographed in 2015 for the Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan in Pune, India.