En route to the Himalayas, at the village of Osla, there is the Temple of Duryodhana, the villainous king of the Mahabharata. Duryodhana’s temple may raise eyebrows in the minds of readers. The question is very natural because only a handful of people are worshiped as God or God’s counterpart or avatar. Such as Shankaracharya, Sri Chaitanyadeva, Sri Ramakrishna, etc. Although they are human beings, they have attained divinity through sadhana. It says the temple in the name of Duryodhana!
Story of the Temple
The temple named after one who is named a villain. So, there must be some mystery here. The Temple of Duryodhana exists not only in the remote Himalayas but also in other provinces of India.
Osla comes on the trekking route to Hor-Ki-Dun in the Himalayas. The entire route is along the Tons River, a major tributary of Yamuna. One has to walk 12 kilometers from the taluka and spent the night at a place called Chilurgad. From Chilurgadh cross a wooden wobbly bridge over the Supin river and climbed a narrow lonely path uphill to reach the village of Osla in the basin of the Tamsa river at the top of the hill.
From the top, the village of Osla across the river can be seen very well. Swargarohini, Bandarpunj, Kalanag, etc. mountain peaks are seen standing in a royal posture at the last moment. There is the temple of the infamous Duryodhana of Mahabharata. Although the temple has another name, Someswara Mahadev Temple. That name is Bratya here.
Let us say here that in a vast area of the Himalayas, Kauravas, especially Duryodhana, are not villains at all, rather it can be said that he has the title of hero on his head. As Duryodhana’s father was blind, his younger brother Pandu sat on the throne. Mahabharata’s Krishnadvaipayana Vyasadev also accepted that. But who deserved the throne after the death of Pandu? Duryodhana according to principles. Because he was the eldest son of Dhritarashtra. But Vyasadev did not accept that.
The simple hill people of this region may have become devotees of Duryodhana out of sympathy. It said that after the death of Duryodhana, the Tons River was created from their tears. That is why even today the people of the Tons (or Supin) river do not drink it. Leaving aside the story, there is a temple of Duryodhana in a village called Jakhol near Mori. Besides, the worship of Duryodhana in Ganga and Datmir is heard. The Osla temple is said by some to be actually the Temple of Duryodhana.
When the Mahabharata serial being shown on television in the 80s, the residents of this place saw Duryodhana as a villain in the serial and decided that they would no longer worship Duryodhana, and since then they started worshiping Shiva instead of Duryodhana in the Osla temple and established a Shiva linga there. That temple known as Someswara Mahadev Temple. Whether it’s Shiva or Duryodhana, the Osla temple is a must-see temple.
Osla is a remote village in the Garhwal Himalayas at an altitude of 8,320 feet, belonging to the Mori block of Uttarkashi district. Taluka is about 13 km by foot from Osla. Osla is sparsely populated, with a population of only 850 and 155 houses. At present, some homestays have been built in their houses for tourists.
The inhabitants of this place claim to be the descendants of the Kauravas. Satellite phones used in government administration for urgent needs. Some houses equipped with solar panels. There are numerous Erkon villages in the Himalayas. But the specialty of Tasla is its temples. Usually, every Himalayan village has a Shiva temple if nothing else. Osla also has the Someshwar Shiva temple. What is special about it?
First, there is a controversy over who the deity of the temple is. Although the temple said to belong to Someswara Mahadeva, according to most of the locals, it was earlier Duryodhana’s temple. A gold-plated axe used by Duryodhana is still kept in the temple. According to them, Shiva never used an axe. His main weapon is the trident. And there is much evidence of Duryodhana being worshiped since ancient times in this region.
Whichever deity the temple belongs to, such an all-wooden temple of magnificent architecture at such a high place has to be marveled at. The wooden temple has beautiful craftsmanship of very high quality at every level. Which is, in a word, as incredible as it is impeccable. Doubts arise about whether such a thing is possible for any human being. Word of mouth among the local people, this temple created by the deity Vishwakarma.
Such a beautiful temple but it is sad that there is no one to see it. The fact is that there is no road to get here. Passing over the flower garden of a house in the village of Osla and immediately passing through the yard of a house. Sometimes not even that, the rocky slopes sometimes have to be traversed with great trepidation over tree trunks. A moment’s wrong step can lead to loss of life by falling into a deep ditch. Sometimes there are village houses on both sides with manure. Most are wooden but there are also a couple of stone ones. But the roofs of the houses are all of slate stone.
Surprisingly, most of these villages are two-storied houses. There is no one-story house. The family of the householder on the second floor Their pet cows, goats, and sheep accommodated on the first floor. Baggage mules, however, spend the night outside the house.
There are also a few three-storied houses. In the village, people are very much like the Temple of Duryodhana.
Although the design is more, flowers, fish, birds, people, gods, and animals all have a place in their art. But the craft that evokes the most wonderfully is that of a tiger. It seems very alive. Next to the tiger is a man speaking. Below the tiger is an armed hunter. To the left of the front wall are two large panels. There are two peacocks facing each other, between them a beautifully worked vessel. Although there are so many carved images in the temple, I did not see the carved images of Shiva-Parvati anywhere.
Two wooden shields arranged above the entrance door of the temple. It is also clear from this that it was once the temple of Duryodhana. Because in the decoration of Shiv Mandir, there is usually no shield, Chagmund. A visit to this temple is an added must on the Har-ki-dun mountain trek. Seeing the Temple of Duryodhana made the journey much easier. The mystery about the worshiping deity of the temple remained. But no matter who is adorable in this temple, the temple is simply beautiful!
How to go to the temple of Duryodhana, Osla
The closest village to Osla is a taluka 13 km away. To go there you have to reach Sankri first. The distance of this Sankri from Dehradun is more or less 210 km. This can be reached by car. Taluka is 11 km from Sankri. Rental cars are also available on this road. There is no other option but to walk from Taluka to Osla.
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