Originally built in the 8th century, the majority of the Sachiya Mata temple in Osian (or Osiyan, Rajasthan) that can be seen today dates to the 12th century A.D. Built on a hilltop, the temple receives crowds of pilgrims, both Hindu and Jain.
The approach to the temple is via a series of magnificently sculpted arches over a long flight of steps. This entrance was once open to the elements, but is now has a canopy of blue plastic sheeting.
The main chamber enshrines an idol of the presiding deity, Sachiya Mata along with images of other Hindu deities.
This is a very interesting space to explore further. Look up and you can see the original 12th century construction and carvings, but from just above head height to the floor the pillars have been covered in coloured tiles and mirrors. It’s quite a contrast of the old and relatively new additions to the temple.
But interesting though the interior may be, the carvings on the exterior of both the main temple and the peripheral shrines is simply stunning.
A sculpture of Varaha, the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is located in the north complex (to your left as you enter the main temple).
Statues of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are present in the east at the far side of the temple, along with a host of many other deities.
The temple is dedicated to Sachiya Mata, daughter of the demon King Pauloma, wife of Rain God Indra and the ninth (and last) incarnation of the goddess Durga. According to legend, Indra married Sachiya Mata for her voluptuousness.
The main temple is flanked by nine smaller temples, each dedicated to an incarnation of the goddess.
The temple is visited by devotees throughout the year, who offer the traditional Indian sweet called lapsi along with saffron and sandal to the goddess.
The Sachiya Mata Temple is also a prime religious site for devotees from the Bafna clan of Jains, who organise their auspicious ceremonies here, including mundan (shaving of head).
Devotees also come here after the marriage of their children, but the really big crowds apparently come for Navratri, nine nights of worship in March/April and October/November.
Before you know it a good couple of hours could disappear visiting this temple. In addition to the static beauty that surrounds you (the carvings etc), it’s a busy living temple with numerous visitors – the scene is ever changing, there’s always something going on.
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