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 had to be shelved after only two couples signed up for it, sources said. The Majestic Rajasthan Deluxe, which was launched to provide a 'dream holiday' to couples for a five-day tour of Rajasthan, stands cancelled, officials told news agency Press Trust of India.
They revealed that only two couples booked tickets on the train which has 78 seats.
Only married couples were allowed on the train, which came with special features like shower cubicles and a foot massager, among others. The Railways had also made special arrangements for children, the officials said.
The train, part of the Indian Railway Catering And Tourism Corporation's or IRCTC's promotional offers, was to depart from the Safdarjung station in Delhi on October 14 and visit historical sites in Rajasthan like the 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 the train without occupancy," a senior official told news agency Press Trust of India
In its promotional message, IRCTC had 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 - Rs. 1,02,960 per couple in AC first class and Rs. 90,090 per couple in AC 2 Tier.
Other facilities included a personal digital locker, shower cubicles, foot massagers and a seating area with single-seater sofas. Passengers were assured free insurance worth Rs. 10 lakh each.
The source told news agency PTI that the fares of the two couples will be refunded to them.
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.