Chennai: The burial of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram's body instead of cremating it as per rituals of the Iyengar community had raised questions but experts say it is an "integral part of Dravidian culture".

And there are precedents in the case of leading Dravidian leaders, including those of her own AIADMK.

"Burial is an integral part of Dravidian culture," Ramu Manivannan, professor of political science at the University of Madras, told IAN.

He also cited the ancient practice of preserving the aged dead in big urns, The Economic Times reported.

Further bodies of leaders like DMK founder and Chief Minister C.N.Annadurai and AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) - the political mentor of Jayalalithaa - were buried at the Marina Beach and memorials for them have come up there.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram died after a prolonged illness on Monday night.

“It is with indescribable grief, we announce the sad demise of our esteemed honourable chief minister of Tamil Nadu ... at 11:30pm (local time) today (Dec 5),” Chennai’s Apollo Hospital said in a statement.

Hundreds of devotees kept a round-the-clock vigil outside the private hospital in the state capital Chennai since she was first admitted in September suffering from a fever. Their numbers swelled since her condition worsened on Sunday.