India Story- This man cycled more than 6000 miles to meet his love

This is the fantastic India Story of a poor man from Odisha who cycled thousands of kilometres from his village to Sweden- just to meet his lover, who was a Swedish princess. At the outset, I will like to express my thanks to Nelson singh who has permitted me to use his photographs in this article.

India Story- Meet Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia

The hero this story is Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia who was born in 1949, just a couple of years after India gained her independence from the Britishers. Mahanandia came from the Dhenkanal district of Odisha. This district was and is one of the most impoverished regions of not just Odisha , but the entire country as well.

To make matters worse, Pradyumna’s family belonged to the lower strata of the society. His parents were extremely poor and ranked low in the social pecking order. The rest of the villagers avoided all social contact with Pradyumna and his family. The family members had to subsist on meagre rations. How tragic is this India Story? Ironically, the word ‘Pradyumna’ is also the name of the son of Lord Krishna.

Off to the Art Schools

In the early 1970s, Pradyumna gained admission to one of the best universities in India- the Vishwabharati University. Unfortunately, he did not have enough money to pay the tuition fees and had to come back to his impoverished village. Life was very painful for him.

A few months later , he got admission into an Odisha college but again, he was unable to fund his education.

Finally, lady luck smiled upon him and he got an admission to the College of Art in Delhi. It seemed, the poor lad from Odisha had found his bearing. Ladies and gentlemen, this India Story isn’t over yet.

Portraits, Portraits

The young man from Odisha had to struggle a lot in Delhi to carve out a living. He liked making portraits of people and found Connaught  Place  (now Rajiv Chowk) as the best place to find his subjects. Connaught Place was in the centre of the city, had lots of people and was also close to his college. Not surprisingly, he found many clients in this beautiful place that still oozes a lot of old world charm.

Pradyumna meets his lady love-the princess of Sweden

One day, while he was engrossed in his work, a beautiful young woman came up to him. Her name was Charlotte and she was visiting India as a traveller. Charlotte had heard about Pradyumna and wanted him to create a portrait for her.

You can’t imagine what happened in the next few minutes…both of them fell in love. Isn’t this India Story enchanting?A princess falling in love with a poor, out caste man! Haa…I wish, a princess would have found me out too…ha ha ha;))

Marriage and then separation…

Of course, the two married and the princess offered to take her new husband back to Sweden, to a life of luxury and comfort. But, our hero would have none of it. He was determined to stay back in India and fund his way for travel to Sweden.

India Story
Love is not limited by boundaries

The distraught princess , after much cajoling, left for Sweden in the fond hope that she and her husband would be soon reunited. Our hero, Pradyumna , refreshed by this marriage, went back to his work, determined that he would earn enough to see his lover once again.

Keeping in Touch

The two kept in touch with letters. There was no internet in those days so you can forget about e-mail and WhatsApp. Dear readers, please imagine the intensity of love between the two; writing a letter, posting it and waiting for the other person’s reply ! In those days, a letter from Sweden would take 14 days to reach India and vice versa. My salute to them.

Can’t bear without her..

A few months after Charlotte’s departure, Pradyumna started pining for her. He could not bear her absence. Pradyumna wanted to be with his wife-the beautiful Charlotte- at all cost.

But the poor artiste did not have enough money to fly down to Sweden! What to do?

No problem, I will cycle down

And yes, dear readers, Pradyumna took a very difficult decision. He took out his ramshackle bicycle and decided to ride down to Sweden ! His friends and well wishers tried to convince him not to do this crazy thing but, what can you do when your heart is possessed with infinite love!

With prayers on his lips and love in his heart, Pradyumna began his dangerous and arduous journey to meet his lady love. He travelled through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Central Europe and many other countries before reaching Sweden. It is easy to list down all these countries here but very , very difficult to imagine the pain that he experienced in his journey.

India Story
It took  Pradyumna 4 months to travel to Sweden from India!

His cycle broke down several times.

He had no money to buy food and clothes.

Many people thought he was a spy.

His body would have ached a million times on the way.

He did not know where he could get a shelter.



After four months of painful, arduous and dangerous travel, Pradyumna reached Sweden.He did not know any Swede there. This was an alien country for the poor artiste from Odisha and he did not know what to do next. Nobody seemed to know English and for our lover here, the situation was quite pathetic.

It had taken him 4 months to ride down to Sweden and all that he wanted was to meet his wife.

Did the lovers meet?

The Swedish immigration officials promptly arrested him upon his arrival in Sweden. They thought he was a spy. He told them he was a lover. The Swedish princess was his wife and her name was Charlotte.The police was unconvinced.

Our boy from Odisha had to spend some anxious moments in Sweden before Charlotte was told by her friends of Pradyumna’s arrival in Sweden .

What……, she was overjoyed and surprised. Pradyumna has come to meet me riding a cycle! Oh, my goodness!

And you know guys, what happened next?

Reunion of the two lovebirds!!!!!!

Post Script

Pradyumna and Charulata (Charlotte) now live in Sweden. They are a happy couple and have been blessed with beautiful kids. It has been more than 45 years that the couple has been living in Sweden. I wish them well.

Our man from Odisha is now a cultural ambassador of India to Sweden. He is a much loved and respected person there. He runs a Facebook page too.


  1. Oh yeah I read about this. It just goes to show that when someone truly wants something, they will find ways and means to make it happen. This man is the epitome of what things you can do for love.

  2. Wow!!! What a story this was! I love reading about how love makes one person (or a group of people) do something we think is impossible. I mean, just imagining the bike ride across different seasons and different countries… it’s something I wouldn’t have strength to do myself. True love indeed exists. I love happy endings.

  3. Have they made a book or movie of this story yet? If not, it definitely needs to be done. This is one of the most beautiful, classic love stories I have ever read. I’m so happy that Pradyumna and his wife were finally able to be reunited!

  4. That is so crazy. Love is, indeed, a powerful emotion and a great motivator. I guess his desire to see the love of his life is greater than all the great reasons why he could not go to Sweden with his crazy plan. In the end, he did good and this is a good story to read and share.

  5. This is totally unbelievable! I am so amazed with the the lengths people go to for love~ I’m glad they both ended up together happily. 🙂 This story made me feel like reading Cinderella story, one that should definitely be made into a movie! 😀 I’ll definitely be the first to watch it ofcourse. 😉

  6. What a stunningly beautiful love story. Oh… The things that people would do for love. I for one will feel absolutely loved and touched. It’s exceedingly rare to see a guy who will do a grand gesture as that. Thanks for sharing the wonderful story of theirs.

  7. Wow, what a beautiful story, but this sounds like an old revival story as I’ve heard a story like this as well. What I like about it is the sacrifice that a man did for his one and only love. No one would have done such thing just to vet back to her love and be reunited together. This speaks about a true love that distance doesn’t matter as long as you have to will to follow your hearts desire. You made me even younger with this blog post of yours.

  8. This story just proves that everything can be done for love…even if it takes to cycle for 4 mos. haha! I wonder how he survived with nothing at all while crossing borders. I guess help came along the way as well. Good to know it ends well and they are now living happily ever after, just like in fairy tales. 🙂

  9. I haven’t read a good story like this. Can you imagine the sacrifices way back then? Loving someone from distance isn’t that easy as you need to go through challenges but sure the effort is worth it. How I wish relationships before can still be like that today. 🙁

  10. While reading this story I kept saying, oh my lord! What a fantastic love story indeed! I have been unfortunate to be living in a time when people don’t do crazy things like this for love anymore. So this story amazed me beyond words. I hope to meet a man as devoted and as principled as Pradyumna. Oh my, this is quite incredible!

  11. Awwww! Things you do for love! <3 It is indeed true that love contains hardships and trials but in the end, everything is worth it! I really enjoyed reading the story, I cannot imagine this kind of unconditional love could actually exist outside of fairytales. I'm glad they're still both married and living a good life 🙂

  12. My recent realizations of love have somewhat dimmed my perspective but this is an enlightening story. I’m inspired by this man’s love to travel as far as he did. I wonder if there are still men like this… Something to hope for.

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