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Rajasthan Temples >> Ossian Temple

Ossian is located at the edge of the Thar Desert, 65 kms north west of Jodhpur. Though Ossian does not figure in the regular tourist guides of India, yet this once prosperous city, boasts of more than 100 Hindu and Jain temples dating back to the Medieval age. Legend has it that the town was founded by Utpaladeva, a Rajput prince of the Pratihara Dynasty. It was then known as Ukesha or Upkeshapur.

The temples here are among the earliest of all medieval temples of Rajasthan. Ruins of several temples dot the present day Ossian. The earlier temples are almost like miniature shrines, some only eight feet in height. Among these intricately carved red sandstone edifices, three are dedicated to Harihara- or the union of Vishnu and Shiva. Profusely carved from their raising plinths, pillars and right upto the very pinnacle of the spires, these temples are considered architectural masterpieces even by foreign scholars such as Percy Brown, James Burgess and Herman Goetz.

Among the oldest group of temples stands the Sun Temple, which was built in 10th century. They are often compared to the carvings of the Sun Temple of Konark. According to records , right in the middle of the town stood another magnificent Sun temple. This, and a score other beautiful shrines were subsequently destroyed during the Turkish and Afghan invasions of India. Out of the more than 100 temples this town once had, barely 16 stand today. Even these have been ravaged by time.

Although majority of the temples at Ossian have decayed with time and have even lost images of their deities- the one temple that remains vibrant is the shrine of Sachiyamata on a nearby hillock. Built in 1234 AD, this temple was dedicated to Durga or Mahisasura Mardini. Today it has become a very important shrine for Jains.