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.