The idea was to rekindle romance in marriage on a train journey through the deserts of Rajasthan but the Indian Railways plan for a special ‘Karwa Chauth’ train service came a cropper with only two couples signing up, sources said. The result: the Majestic Rajasthan Deluxe, which was launched to provide a ‘dream holiday’ to couples for a five-day tour of the State, stands cancelled, officials said.
They said only two couples booked tickets on the train, which has 78 seats.
Only married couples were allowed on the train, which came with special touches like a shower cubicle and a foot massage and seating area, although the IRCTC had made special arrangements for children, the officials said.
The train, part of the Indian Railway Catering And Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) promotional offers, was to depart from the Safdarjung station in Delhi on October 14 and visit historical sites in Rajasthan such as Jaisalmer Fort, Patwon ki Haveli, Gadisar Lake, Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Amber Fort and City Palace till October 18.
“Only two couples have booked tickets on it so it is as good as cancelled. We cannot run a train like this without occupancy,” a senior official said. The fares of the two couples will be refunded.
In its promotional message, the IRCTC said, “This Karwa Chauth, give your wife a special gift which she will remember for ages.”
Officials said the low turnout could be because of the high fares — ₹1,02,960 per couple in AC first tier and ₹90,090 per couple in AC 2 Tier. Passengers were assured free insurance worth ₹10 lakh each.
The festival of Karwa Chauth, in which a wife fasts through the day till moonrise for her husband’s long life, falls on October 17.