The decomposing body of a 53-year-old woman has been found in a bungalow at an expensive residential colony in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. Police say it is possible the body lay undetected for as long as five to six months.

Local media reports identify the woman as Sheela Reddy, who lived alone in a two-story house in the city's Indira Nagar colony. And neighbours say the last relative stopped visiting her several months ago. Her body was discovered by her brother, Shankar Reddy, who reportedly only stayed in touch via phone calls and emails.

The Times of India quotes a local police official as saying, "We had to break open the doors and there was heavy stench emanating from the house. The body was in a decayed state and only the skeleton of one half of the body remained. Our initial assessment is that she died at least four to five months ago."

Neighbours also say Reddy was upset at not receiving visits from family members and led a very reclusive life after her mother died last year. Tragically, the colony she stays in is not only of the most expensive in the city but is also home to a number of retired police officers and civil servants. One of her neighbours is a former Director-General of Police, MD Singh, who said: "If it is a single woman, there is not much we can do by way of interaction, otherwise we are all very friendly."

Meanwhile, initial investigations appear to point to starvation as the cause of death. Police say they discovered no food in Reddy's home and that more details are expected after a post-mortem, scheduled for Friday.