: 65 km Northwest Of Jodhpur, Rajasthan
: Early Medieval Age (10th Centurary)
: Utpaladeva, A Rajput Prince
Earlier Known As : Ukesha or Upkeshapur
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.
Osian was an important centre of pilgrimage between the 8th and 9th centuries. History also confirms that Osian was a large and prosperous city during the early medieval period. Brahminical influences were very strong in Osian during that period. Later, Jainism also flourished in the place. This was the chief reason for the construction of many Hindu and Jain temples in the place. At the time of construction of the temples between 8th and 12th centuries, Gurjara Pratihara dynasty was ruling in Osian. In ancient times, Osian was known as Ukeshpur.
A group of 11 temples belonging to the 8th and 9th centuries are located within Osian village. Another group dating to 11th and 12th century is located on a hill that overlooks the village.
The oldest of the group is the Sun temple of the place. The doorway of this temple is regarded as one of the finest temple doorways in India. Another old and attractive temple is the Harihara I temple. The central shrine stands on a terrace surrounded by four other smaller shrines. The temple is called a panchavatan temple as the central shrine is surrounded by four others. The Harihara III temple built a few years after Harihara I is known for beautifully decorated walls. The architecture of the interiors of this temple is very impressive. There are also a few sculptures showing Lord Krishna and Radha in dancing postures.
Some other temples worth a mention are Vishnu temples III, IV and V. All these temples are west facing with beautifully decorated walls. Though small in size, all the Osian temples have been richly sculpted. Another striking feature of the temples is that no two temples are alike in any manner and every temple has its original design. All the temples were built using stone from local quarries that have withstood the ravages of time successfully.