Nashik residents Shyam and Sarika Jadhav became the first couple in the country to marry on a train, when they exchanged vows in the presence of a pandit and 110 ‘passenger guests’ travelling by the Panchvati Express on Monday afternoon.
Shyam, 28, is a real estate agent by profession,and commutes to Mumbai at least four times in a week. “I have been travelling by the Panchvati Express for the past 10 years, and several regular commuters have become close friends. We all board the Adarsh compartment, which is reserved for the pass holders,” he said.
However, getting hitched on a train was the last thing on his mind, and he though this friends were joking when they suggested the option. “I understand people getting hitched on a beach,at a palace or in front of the Taj Mahal. But train…” Shyam laughed.
When he realised his train friends indeed wanted him to consider the option, and his bride-to-be was also keen on the idea, Shyam said it didn’t take him long to say yes.
“We decided on two ceremonies,” he said, “It would have been impossible to accommodate all our guests on a train compartment. On Saturday, we had an elaborate wedding in Nashik, where the pheras took place. The train wedding was restricted to ou rcommuter friends, and yet, the compartment was crammed with 110 guests. Sarika and I loved every minute of it.”
THE CEREMONY Shyam and Sarika, 22, boarded the Panchvati Express at Nashik around 7 am, along with a pandit and the guests.Following the religious chants, the couple exchanged their vows, after which the ‘reception’ was announced. The function was organised by one of the daily commuters, Bipin Gandhi, who is president of an NGO called Rail Parishad. Gandhi, who commutes to Mumbai five times in a week, said he wanted his daughter to get married on a train, but had to back off because of his family’s opposition.
“I am so happy to see Shyam and Sarika getting married on a train. Had my daughter’s in-laws not objected to my idea, she and her husband would have been the first couple to get hitched on a train,” Gandhi said.
The Central Railway didn’t charge any money for the function, saying permission was sought by the pass holders to have a small reception. A spokesperson from Central Railway said, “We were requested to allow a wedding function in the Adarsh compartment. We were only too happy to oblige. We don’t have any previous record of a wedding being hosted on a train.”
The Adarsh compartment is a chair-car bogie, which can accommodate 70 passengers. In this case, the railway didn’t mind another 40 passengers on board. A railway caterer from Manmad was hired to supply food for the reception.
“We decided on a vegetarian fare, comprising idlis, vadas and a range of sandwiches. The guests were also fed motichoor ladoos,” Shyam said, adding the train wedding was yet to sink in. “It’s something we will proudly share with our children,” he laughed.