Thousands of people dressed in mourning clothes paid their respects to the last Maharaja of Jaipur on Monday and adorned his body with flower garlands before his 12-year-old grandson lit the funeral pyre.
Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh, 79, died Saturday in a New Delhi hospital where he was being treated for high blood pressure and a lung infection.
Singh served as Maharaja or hereditary ruler of Jaipur for only a few months in between his father's death in 1970 and the abolition of royal titles in 1971. Jaipur was one of hundreds of tiny royal kingdoms that dotted India until the country's independence from Britain in 1947.
Even in his short reign, he was revered as a wise and kind ruler.
On Monday, 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 placed garlands and flowers by his body.
Male relatives and staff members wearing turbans in the mourning colors of black, white and khaki then put the body on a truck bedecked with marigold flowers and the flags and colors of the former kingdom.
As the cortege wound its way to the royal cremation grounds, hundreds of people joined in the cries of "Long live Maharaja Bhawani Singh."
Later, as Hindu priests chanted sacred verses, Singh's 12-year old grandson lit the funeral pyre at a solemn ceremony attended by many former rulers of small kingdoms in India.
Singh served in the Indian army and fought in the 1971 war against rival Pakistan, for which he received India's second highest gallantry award.