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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

India: Last of the Maharanis

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan
The passing away of Gayatri Devi, the last of the notable Indian maharanis, or queens, has signed off a final postscript to India's colorful royal past.

On July 30, two elephants led her funeral procession in Jaipur, state capital of Rajasthan (land of kings) in western India. The 90-year-old frail body of the lady, once ranked among the 10 most beautiful women in the world, was carried with state honors to the "Maharani Ki Chhatri", a special cremation ground for the former queens of Rajasthan.

The funeral pyre smoke seems to have carried away a living link to an India known for maharajahs and palaces, palanquins and
polo matches, fabled jewels and custom-made Rolls Royces, debauched lifestyles and cowardly animal-hunting parties.

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