Thousands of people poured into the courtyard of a sprawling palace in the western Indian city of Jaipur on Sunday to pay their last respects to Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh, the city's last maharaja.
Singh, 79, died late Saturday in a hospital on the outskirts of New Delhi where he had spent the last two weeks, his daughter Diya Kumari said. He had suffered from high blood pressure and a lung infection.
Singh served as the maharaja or hereditary ruler of Jaipur after his father Sawai Man Singh's death in June 1970. Jaipur was one of hundreds of tiny royal kingdoms that dotted India until the country's independence from Britain in 1947.
The rulers continued to hold onto their titles after independence. However, Singh served as maharaja for only a few months until India formally abolished the royal titles in 1971.
Nevertheless, he continued to be revered in western India's Rajasthan state and was often referred to by his royal title.
Singh served in the Indian army and fought in the 1971 war against rival Pakistan.
On Sunday evening his body _ dressed in a military uniform _ was laid out in the courtyard of the Chandra Mahal or Moon Palace, one of the palaces that continued to be home to the former royal family. Thousands of local residents and tourists paid their respects, many carrying garlands and flowers to place by his body.
Male relatives and staff members wearing turbans in the mourning colors of black, white and khaki stood beside the body. Singh's wife and other female relatives mourned in a separate section of the palace.
"He was a very kind man and he used to mix with commoners easily," said 84-year-old Mansha Ram Garg, who came to pay his respects.
His funeral is to be conducted in Jaipur according to Hindu religious rites on Monday. He is survived by his wife Padmini Devi and daughter Kumari.