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21 April 2024

Love story of century: Indian cycles to Sweden to meet royal wife

Pic Courtesy: (Facebook.com/pkmahanandia)

By Shuchita Kapur

True love knows no bounds and this is exactly the story of a poor man from India, Dr. Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia (fondly known as PK), and Charlotte Von Schedvin, a royal from Sweden.

Reported recently, this love story shaped up in 1975, when the young 19-year old Charlotte travelled to India to get a portrait done by Pradyumna, who was a master of strokes.

The making of that portrait transformed into love and changed their life - they fell in love with each other and married according to Indian traditions.

But as with any love story, theirs too had its share of heart breaks when Charlotte decided to return to Sweden in 1975. She offered Pradyumna to go along with her. However, he decided go to Sweden but on his own.

After she left, the two kept in touch through letters. Meanwhile, PK spent his time in India trying to earn and save so that he could make it to Sweden.

But that wasn’t enough and three years later he decided buy a second hand bicycle and make a tiring journey all the way to Far West to meet his love.

PK’s grand voyage took four months and three weeks. He reached Amritsar from New Delhi before entering Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Austria and Denmark before finally reaching Gothenburg, Sweden, his final destination.

During his journey, his second hand wheels broke down many times on the way but his love kept him going on.

The Swedish immigration officers were surprised to see a man travel all the way from India on a bicycle and contacted Charlotte after seeing PK’s marriage photographs. She drove to Gothenburg to receive her estranged husband. 

Having gone through a lot of heart breaks and misery, their love story finally found some respite as Charlotte’s parents accepted Pradyumna as a part of their family by breaking a royal tradition.

The couple were married again in 1979. They have a son Siddharth and a daughter Emelie. They currently live in Charlotte's home town Borås.

Today Pradyumna is a well-known artist in Sweden and works as an adviser (art and culture) under the Swedish government.

Swedish government in honour of their love has made films to document this immortal love of the century.

Along with a successful family life, PK has also received a lot of recognition for this work. His paintings have been exhibited in major cities of the world and have found places in the prestigious Unicef greeting cards.

He was also awarded an honorary doctorate (Degree of Honoris Causa) from Utkal University of Culture (UUC) in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, India, in 2012. He was designated as the Oriya Cultural ambassador to Sweden by the government of Odisha.

This remarkable love story has been shared by Facebook user Satyanarayan Parti on his Facebook page which has gone viral. It has already been shared over 75,000 times.