Osian a very old small temple town in the Thar Desert which is situated about 65 kms to the north west of Jodhpur. Osian is a huge centre of Jain and Brahmanical religions. Osian has the largest group of Hindu and Jain temples in Rajasthan which belongs to the two periods, 8th century temple which is symbolized by about 12 temples and 12th century symbolized by 6 temples.
History of Osian
Osian was a large and busy town in the medieval period and groups from Afghanistan, central Asia, Persia and Arabia come here for trade. Osian was the capital of the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty from 8th to 12th century. Osian was a prominent center of pilgrimage between 8th and 9th centuries. This can be known from the surviving Hindu temples of the Surya (Sun), Vaishnava, and Shakti (mother goddess) sects. During that period the Brahminical control was very strong in Osian, later Jainism also prospered in the place through the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty.
Today also devotees from all over visit the Osian temple dedicated to the goddess Sachiyamata. Osian was known as Ukeshpur in the historic times.
Tourist attractions in Osian
The Brahmanical Jain temples and Hindu temples are the famous tourist attractions in Osian. These temples were constructed between 8th and 12th century during the rule of the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty. These temples are very small and are richly fashioned and magnificently built. In these temples, each temple has its own distinctive planning, layout, and design and no two temples are alike in any manner. These temples were constructed from the stone which was extracted from local quarries, and has managed to withstand the vagaries of nature for various centuries. The prominent temple of Osian is situated on a terrace whose walls are ornamented with Miniatures and mouldings. As the main shrine of the temple is enclosed by four small shrines, the temple is called a panchavatan temple. Central projections are there on the walls of the temple which are carved panels, above the panels there rise the curved towers topped by an amalaka and pot finial. The doorways are generally decorated with serpents, scrollwork, and river goddesses.
On the outskirts of Osian village there are a group of 11 temples which belongs to 8th-9th centuries. On a hill overlooking the village the other temples are located which belong to 11th and 12th centuries. South group includes 3 Harihara Hindu temples. The interior of these temples is very amazing and these temples are known for the magnificently decorated walls. South group comprise early 8th century which is the Surya temple and 11th - 12th century temple which is the Sachiya Mata Temple. West group of temples comprises a mixture of Hindu (Vishnu, Pippala Devi and Surya) temples, an 8th century tank and an 11th century Jain (Mahavira) temple. Jain Mahavira temple is distinctive among various Osian temples with the vaulted design of its hall-ceiling. Sachiya Mata temple is the famous temple which was founded 1178 AD, it has a Shikhar which is clustered by an ambulatory and a large assembly hall with an elaborate ceiling. The oldest temple of the group is the Sun temple. Its doorway is considered as one of the best temple doorways in India.