ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 2 (3/4): PILGRIM OASIS IN THAR DESERT, Sachiya Mata Temple, Osian, Rajasthan, India, 2018.11.25

After a quick lunch at Pal Haveli Hotel, we hopped on the prearranged car for Jaisalmer, the golden city of Rajasthan.  Before reaching Jaisalmer, we made a brief stop at Osian, a desert oasis famous for its ancient temples and camel safaris.  At 15:00, our driver dropped us off at a dusty street intersection in Osian.  Our driver spoke no English and we didn’t have a proper map of Osian.  Google Map wasn’t  helpful either for locating where we were.  We followed a street lined with religious and souvenir shops and hoped that it would lead us to the town centre.  We soon arrived at a temple.  Judging from its archways and entrance stairway, we thought it should be Sachiya Mata, the temple that we intended to visit.

Osian was sleepy and we could hardly see a tourist.  Even local pilgrims were fewer than expected.  Originally a popular religious and trading hub in the Thar Desert, Osian has seen better days before Muhammad of Ghor and his Turkish and Muslim armies sacked the town in 1195 CE.  Today it is no more than a quiet small town 40km north of Jodhpur with a handful of ruined temples.  In its heyday between the 8th and 12th century, dozens of Brahmanical and Jain temples flourished in Osian, making the town a hub for camel caravans and Hindu and Jain pilgrims.

01Built by Parmar king Upaldev for his kulderi (family deity), the Hindu mother goddess Sachiya, the Sachiya Mata Temple dated back to the 8th century.

02Construction was made in different phases.  The last changes were made in the 12th century.

03Today, visitors can tour around the complex, experience the sacred ambience of occasional religious ceremonies and admire the thousand year old statues and paintings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter walking up the archways, we passed through the main prayer hall and the Garbhagriha (inner sanctum that houses the deity) and reached the roof terrace.

05The temple’s roof terrace was dominated by the shikhara or “mountain peak”.

07Shikhara or “mountain peak” is a common feature in a Hindu or Jain temple.

08The shikhara is ornately decorated with stone carvings.

09Some ornaments can be dated back to over a thousand years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKautuka or red and yellow ritual threads are left on the fence right by a shikhara tower.

11Throughout the complex there are multiple levels of terraces, shikhara towers, and pavilions.

13Inside the mandapa (grand hall), a wide range of colourful tiles have been used as decorations.

15We stopped for a while to admire the exquisite lotus ceiling carved with beautiful figures over the mandapa (grand hall).

16Small shrines could be found throughout the temple complex of Sachiya Mata.

17Both Hindu and Jain pilgrims would come to worship at Sachiya Mata.

18With building elements and ornaments ranging from over a thousand years ago to the present, we were literally surrounded by layers of history as we wandered around the complex.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAter staying for 40 minutes at the temple, it was time for us to move on.

20We walked down the beautiful archways one last time.  Soon we returned to where we were dropped off and were glad to see our driver getting the car ready for the remaining leg of our journey to Jaisalmer.


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