Another link to India’s glorious royal past has been severed.
The last Maharajah of Jaipur has died in the western Indian state of Rajasthan after a long illness.
Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh was 79 and was able to maintain the reverence of much of India long after the government had abolished royal titles and privileges. He was cremated with full-state honors following a funeral parade through Jaipur that attracted a huge crowd of mourners, as well as prominent local officials.
Like a scene from a romantic adventure movie, Singh’s funeral cortege was accompanied by bejeweled elephants and horses.
Jaipur is famous for its pink architecture and dazzling imperial palaces.
The maharajah’s 12-year-old grandson, Padmanabh Singh, lit the pyre amidst the chanting of Vaidik mantras at 'Gaitore Ki Chatriya', the crematorium of the royal family.
Brigadier Singh became Maharajah in 1970, upon the passing of his father. Shortly thereafter India eliminated royal titles, making him the last official Maharajah of Jaipur.
The government of Rajasthan government has declared two days of mourning.
Singh, who served in the Indian army, received the Mahavir Chakra award for gallantry for his performance during the 1971 war against Pakistan.
He was born to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his first wife Marudhar Kanwar of Jodhpur. In 1966, he married Padmini Devi.
After his retirement from the military, Singh unsuccessfully contested parliamentary elections in 1989.
He also served as ambassador to Brunei in the 1990s.
He is survived by wife Padmini Devi and daughter Diya Kumari.