This is a photo book of a region in India called Jhalavad. Jhalavad was an ancient desert kingdom ruled by Jhala kings called Jhallesvars since 1082 A.D. The title of His Highness came into existence after British rule was established in Jhalavad in 1807. This book showcases aspects of the life of the current Jhallesvar, His Highness Dr. Jayasinhji Jhala, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Temple University.
I, Alex Goldblum, am his former student and friend. I am a photographer, filmmaker, and book maker and I was invited to Jhalavad and offered the opportunity to explore the region, its culture, architecture, and life, and the art and palaces of the Jhallesvar. I have been given access to this archive of photos to enjoy over eighteen years. This book is a compilation of the visual culture of Jhalavad and the present Jhallesvar Maharaja of Dhrangadhra Jayasinhji.
I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and I first met Professor Jhala when I entered his anthropology class at Temple University in Philadelphia in 2005. I enrolled in Temple’s summer study abroad course Dr. Jhala held in the town of Dhrangadhra in the western province of Gujarat in India. I was surprised when I arrived in Dhrangadhra that I was to live in a beautiful palace. My professor was a prince of the Kingdom of Halvad-Dhrangadhra.
This book is an in depth look at the history and culture of The Raj of Dhrangadhra. This is the fifth book project I have published in collaboration with Dr. Jayasinhji Jhala. Previous book titles by Dr. Jhala, edited by myself are as follows:
Royal Jhallesvar Paintings of The Floating Desert; Ganga Speaks; My India: Voices of The Floating Desert; Jhallaraangadh: The Lake Palace at Halvad.
The photographs in this book have been extracted from several sources. Principal photographers include myself and Premji Rudatala, with the lion’s share of photos coming from the personal archive of Dr. Jayasinhji Jhala.