When in Rajasthan, the desire to visit the desert, to witness the ethereal sand dunes can rarely be eluded. And when one thinks of deserts in India, the first name that pops up is Jaisalmer. The sand dunes of Jaisalmer are certainly a sight to the eyes and worth the visit. However, there is one other place, lesser-known and lesser-tread-on than Jaisalmer but can do justice when it comes to quenching one’s desire for a desert experience. And that place is Osian.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of Osian is that the mainstream traveler seems unaware of its existence, as it’s a town that’s rich in history.
It might be a small town today, but Osian was a stopping point along the silk route during the reign of the Gupta Dynasty. And in its heyday, Osian was also the capital of the Marwar kingdom. So now you know, this town is kind of a big deal!
Osian was once a Hindu-dominated city, but around the 9th century, the city started turning predominantly Jain. This is evidenced by the numerous temples and ruins dotted around Osian.
You’ll be interested to know that Osian is also known as the ‘Khajuraho of Rajasthan’, thanks to the intricate architecture and sculptures on the Sun Temple here. If you love medieval temples and architecture, this desert town is where you want to be at!
Osian is a desert town in Rajasthan and about 1.5 hrs from the city of Jodhpur. The proximity to Jodhpur is what makes it special. Here are the different ways you can reach this town:
Being a small town, Osian doesn’t have an airport of its own, so you’ll have to fly to Jodhpur Airport, which is about 65 km away. You can then get a cab from the airport to Osian.
Osian has decent rail connectivity with major cities including Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Delhi, and Mumbai.
Osian is well-connected to nearby major cities. You can easily get buses and cabs to get around.
The best time would be the winters, of course. Late October to Early March is when desert experiences are the most enjoyable. Considering Osian is in the Thar Desert, summers can get unbearably hot. Although it does not rain too much, the monsoons do bring out breeds of insects in the desert. So avoid overnight stays during the monsoon as the experience would not be as satisfying.
Also, arriving in October could mean that you can also witness the Marwar Festival in the nearby Jodhpur.
You can either visit Osian as a day trip from Jodhpur or spend overnight at a tented accommodation in the desert. But if you prefer a rural experience, then another option is to base your Jodhpur journey in Osian and visit the sights in Jodhpur as a day trip.
Also Read: Top 9 Things To Do In Rajasthan
Reggie’s Camel Camp is the most well-known of the desert experience tour operators in Osian. You can either book a sunset camel ride with evening snacks/dinner or a one-night desert experience or even a private safari and camp stay. Staying at Reggie’s would mean you don’t need to compromise comfort when living in a desert!
Osian has been a religious center for Hindus and Jains for centuries, and the many temples are a testament to that. Particularly prominent among them are the Sun Temple, Sachiya Mata Temple, and the Mahavira Temple. The exotic and intricate architecture of the temples will certainly leave you mesmerized!
Osian, although relatively unheard of, is definitely worth a visit. Renting a private vehicle is the best mode of transport. If you are in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer is not on your travel plan, then head to Osian and experience the magic of the desert!
Also Read: Camping In Rajasthan
Is Osian Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! This small town was once the capital of the Marwar kingdom and has many stunning temples. Osian is the perfect place if you want a desert experience but don’t want to visit the more popular Jaisalmer.
How Far Is Osian From Jodhpur?
Osian is about 70 km away from Jodhpur, which is both the nearest major city and where the closest airport is.
How Far Is Thar Desert From Jodhpur?
Jodhpur is located in the Thar Desert, but if you want to gaze upon sand dunes, consider visiting the town of Osian, which is about 70 km away.
How Far Is Desert From Jaisalmer?
Jaisalmer is located well within the Thar Desert. But if you’re talking about the sand dunes and a desolate landscape, the Desert National Park is about 10 km away from the city proper. The popular Sam Sand Dunes and Khuri Sand Dunes are 38 and 50 km away respectively.
Does Jodhpur Have Desert?
While Jodhpur is in the Thar Desert, you must consider visiting the nearby town of Osian to have the proper desert experience.
Which Is Better Jodhpur Or Jaisalmer?
Jodhpur and Jaisalmer both have their own charm. While Jodhpur beautifully offsets the landscape with its blue buildings, Jaisalmer radiates the majesty of the desert with its yellow sandstone structures. Jodhpur has many palaces and forts, while Jaisalmer has one, in which people still live and make a living out of, which makes for an interesting sight.
What Is The Famous Food Of Jodhpur?
Laal Maas - This delicious dish is prepared with mutton slowly cooked in yogurt with chilies. Needless to say, Laal Maas is quite spicy!
Dal Baati - Wherever you’re in Rajasthan, you can’t miss the staple Dal Baati, and Jodhpur is no exception.
Gulab Jamun Ki Sabzi - If you think this sounds like an odd combination, we can’t blame you. But the sweet and spicy flavors exploding together in your mouth will totally be worth it!
How Many Days Are Enough For Jodhpur?
Two days would be sufficient for you to explore Jodhpur in its entirety. Here’s the itinerary:
Day 1 - Visit the Umaid Bhawan Palace and Museum during the day, the Mehrangarh Fort, and Jaswant Thada in the afternoon.
Day 2 - You can explore the blue streets of the old city, and go shopping for souvenirs.
If you add a third day, you can also visit the town of Osian!
How Can I Spend 2 Days In Jaisalmer?
Day 1 - Spend one full day exploring Jaisalmer Fort and the city, including visiting the Gadisar Lake and the Bada Bagh.
Day 2 - Visit the border town of Longewala, the Indo-Pakistan border, and return to camp at Khuri/Sam Sand Dunes. Here you can vibe to Rajasthani folk music and dance.
Is Jodhpur Safe At Night?
Jodhpur is generally a safe city for tourists. But all the same, we recommend that you stay clear of shady areas of the city, especially at night.