The historic town of Mandi (800 m) is built along the banks of the river Beas. It has long been an important commercial centre and the sage Mandva is said to have meditated here. This one time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast developing town that still retains much of its original charm and character. Today, it is a district headquarters. Mandi is renowned for its 81 old stone temples and their enormous range of fine carving, it is often called the ‘Varanasi of the Hills’. The town has remains of old palaces and notable examples of ‘colonial’ architecture. HPTDC runs a hotel here.
The Shivaratri Bhutnath ( bhootnath ) celebrations in the Bhutnath temple attract tourists every year in large numbers. There are also two lakes near Mandi, which provide a good breather for the visitor. About five kms from the main town is the Tarana hills and on the top of the hill is Rani Amrit Kaur Park. From here one gets very good view of the nearby areas. The park has enclosed the Syama Kali temple, which was, built some where in the 17th century.
In the days of yore, the pious sage, Mandavaya, performed long and severe penance and practiced unthinkable austerities on his body, on the right bank of the river Beas, near the present town, which, then took his name.
Tourist Attractions in and around Mandi
Rewalsar lake :
Joginder nagar: The large hydro-electric project in Joginder nagar is a living tribute to man he has harnessed and tamed the wild and roaring river for his betterment.Here an electric trolley takes the visitor up the steep,rocky face of 2,500 metres-high(8,202 ft) mountain and drops sharply on the other side to Barot,where the reservoir is located.
The railway line goes up to the power station,the water rushing down from the reservoir at Barot in the Uhl river through penstock pipes going down nearly a thousand metres(3,280 ft). For tourists who go up to Barot by the trolley there is a comfortable rest house of the Electricity department.The roads extends beyond to Mandi and passes the Largi gorge to the Kullu valley. Bassi power station is five kilometres from Jogindernagar and next to it, is Machinhar where fishing is not permitted as it is considered a sacred spot, but it is a popular as a feeding spot for fish.
Shikari Devi Temple :
Chindi : This little hamlet in an apple growing area is blessed with breathtaking beauty. There are numerous small temples of considerable antiquity not too far away. Chindi, easily approachable via Tatta Pani from Shimla. It is 107 km. from Mandi.
Mandi Tarna Mata Temple ::
This 17th century temple is built by Raja Shyam Sen who was a great devotee of Kali. Being placed on the top of the hill the entire town is visible from the top of this temple. The dense forest that bounds the temple provides a scenic beauty to this sacred shrine. The deity in a ferocious image makes the devotee with fear and faith.
Nargu Sanctuary : It was first notified as a sanctuary in 1962 and re-notified on 27th March 1974. The sanctuary has a heavily degraded area which has only a few good patches of wild life habitat left in its higher, inaccessible reaches. This sanctuary in among the most densely populated sanctuaries in Himachal. Towards the South-East, it adjoins Khokhan sanctuaty.
Flora :Forest types include sub-tropical pine, Ban Oak, Moru Oak, Moist Deodar, western mixed Coniferous, moist temperate Deciduous, Kharsu Oak and sub Alpine forests.
Fauna ( Mammals ) :Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, Himalayan Palm Civet, barking Deer, Goral, Indian Hare, common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan yellow throated, stone Marten, Indian Porcupine, common giant flying Squirrel and Hhimalayan Weasel.
Tattapani : Resting deep in a scenic valley and surrounded by hills. It is located on the right bank of river Satluj at an altitude of 656 meters. This natural sulphur spring is pure and has curative power for various kings of bodily ailments. The water level of the spring keeps changing with the fluctuation in the water level of the river. Tatta-pani means hot water.
Sunder nagar :
Mahamaya Temple Sundernagar :: Placed atop a hill, Mahamaya Temple is located at Sundernagar (situated at a height of 1174m, noted for its shady walks amidst soaring trees) in Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh. It is consecrated to the Mother Goddess. The temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. Sukhdev Vatika is a beautiful garden lying on the top of a hill in the vicinity. A Devi temple and Tattapani (situated on the banks of the River Sutlej, it is a picturesque place, celebrated for their restorative and stimulating properties) are the nearby attractions. Mahamaya Temple in Sundernagar is easily accessible by road from Mandi.
Ardhnari Temple Mandi :: One of the more modern temples, the finest from an artistic standpoint is that of Ardhnari, the stone image of which represents Shiva and his consort Parvati. The right half is that of Shiva and the left half that of Parvati. Shiva is portrayed with knotted hair, a necklace of human skulls, a serpent, a musical instrument in one hand and a damru in the other. Parvati is shown wearing an earring and a nose ring. To the main image is joined a slab on which the vehicles of the dieties – the bull and the lion – are carved. Teh whole measures 4′ 4″ high by 3′ 3″ broad. On the right and left are the images of Bhairava and Hanuman. The building consists of a cella, porch and sabha mandap and the carving throughout is rich and of considerable artistic beauty.
Triloknath Shiva Temple – It is built in the Nagari style with a tiled roof. The temple at the centre of a group of sculpted stones shrines, overlooks the river and offers good views. Inside the temple, Lord Shiva has been depicted as the lord of the three worlds, at the Panchvakhra he has five faces, expressing his five aspects.
Bhootnath temple –
Barot – 40 km by road from Jogindernagar, and 12 km by the haulage trolley, Barot packs an enormous range of out door activity. The reservoir of the power project is located here, and there is a trout breeding centremaking it a wonderful place for angling. Across the river Uhl is the Nargu wild life sanct~ary home to the ghoral, Himalayan black bear and a variety of pheasants.
Janjehli : At a distance of 67 k.m. from Mandi,Janjehli is a paradise for hikers, offering treks up to a height of 3,300 metres. After covering 32 k.m. by a motorable road up to Gohar and rest of the journey is on foot. In the midest of thick forest, forests (15 km from Gohar) is Bajahi.There is a beautiful and well furnished rest house to stay overnight, from here Janjehli is a scant 20 km away through bridle path.
Sukhsar Lake :Another beautiful lake on the hiltop of Rewalsar town is Sukhsar lake which is surrounded by rising hills and thick bushy vegetation in the catchment area. There is a snowfall in the winter here.
Kalasar Lake :It is situated at the top of Rewalsar town and is surrounded by beautiful green hills. This lake sometimes experiences snowfall during winter.
Kunt Bhayog Lake :Situated at the beautiful hiltop of Rewalsar town and it is enclosed by hills from two sides. This lake is about 12 to 15 m deep at the centre
Kamru Nag Lake :Resting resort for trekkers at a height of 3,334 metres above sea level on Mandi – Karsog road.
Mandi, also known as Mandav Nagar, is a charming town in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Hotels in Mandi are not very abundant; hence they are packed in between during the months of March and October, when the tourist rush is at its maximum. If you are visiting Mandi during this period it is usually advised to book your rooms early. Economy rooms for the budget conscious tourists are available and they cost around Rs 730 per night for a room without air conditioning.
If you are visiting during the winter months, then you will not require an air conditioned room. The deluxe rooms in Mandi start at around Rs 2,000 per night. The more expensive ultra deluxe hotels in Mandi will cost a tourist roughly Rs 3,300 per night. Hotels in Mandi have a variety of amenities such as cable television, doctor on call, laundry services, room service all day long, multi cuisine restaurants, centralized air conditioning and high speed internet.
The town is an important transport hub and therefore is very well connected making travel very easy.
How to reach Mandi
Air Route : The nearest airport is Kullu-Manali Airport which is 62 km. from Mandi located just near to the bus stand of Bhunter. Flights are available to and from Delhi, Chandigarh and Jubbar-hatti (Shimla). From Delhi, it takes one & half an hour to reach Kullu-Manali Airport. The other airport is at Gaggal called Kangra airpot which is around 200 km. from Kullu on the way from Kullu to Pathankot.
Train Route : The nearest railway station is Joginder Nagar which is 55 km. far on Mandi-Pathankot way is a narrow gauge track.
BY ROAD: Mandi is approachable by road from Shimla, Chandigarh, Pathankot and Delhi. There are regular bus services linking it to the other towns like Manali, Palampur and Dharamshala.