The lords have generously blessed Mandi with picture perfect beauty, intimate tea plantations, sprawling deodar and pine forests and a kaleidoscope of fauna all enveloped in the majestic mountain ranges that have left many mesmerized. Legend has it that the Great sage 'Mandav' prayed in the city of Mandi, so intense was his meditation that the rocks turned black due to the spatianism of his penance, the town was thus called Mandvya Nagari in the great sage’s honour.
Built along the banks of the river Beas, the diminutive town of Mandi is an important religious centre with a few hundred temples in its vicinity. Also called the “Abode of temples” or the “Varanasi of the hills”, Mandi enjoys the title of being one of the holiest hill stations in Himachal Pradesh.
Mandi has more than three hundred temples bordering the River Beas. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared many of these temples as 'protected monuments' under the preservation act due to their historical significance and classic architecture. Chief among them are the Panchvaktra Temple, situated at the confluence of River Beas and Suketi khad, the Ardhnareshwar Temple, which is one of the very few temples in India that has Lord Shiva appearing in a composite form with the right half as male and the left half as female symbolizing the male and female principles of cosmic evolution, the Triloknath Temple located on the right bank of river Beas where Lord Siva is depicted as the lord of the three worlds and the Gurudwara Gobind Singh in honour of Guru Gobind Singh. It commemorates Guru Gobind Singh's visit, when he sought to evolve a common strategy with the hill rulers against the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. This gurudwara was built in 1930 by Raja Joginder Sen of Mandi.
The Bhootnath Temple is the most famous temple in Mandi, located in the heart of the city it dates back to the 1500s. The festival of Shivratri a vibrant festival held for seven days in the month of March every year at the Bhootnath temple. For the entire week the town forgets everything else and celebrates the arrival of hundreds of local deities on elaborately decorated palanquins. The name Shivratri means "the night of Shiva". The ceremonies take place chiefly at night and the festival is observed in honor of Lord Shiva. It is believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati. Mandi has a mixed population,Hindus,Sikhs,Muslims and Christians all live together in harmony. The people are secular, broadminded and kind. All of them celebrate Indian festivals together with great zest.
Rewalsar Lake is about 25 km from Mandi. The city of Rewalsar lies hidden away in the Himalayan foothills, surrounded by a lake holy to Hindus and Buddhists.
Other places of interest include Tatta Pani or “hot water” which is a natural warm water sulphur spring located on the bank of river Satluj. The water has curative power for various kinds of bodily ailments and is frequented by many domestic travelers
Chindi, a sprawling apple orchard that is easily approachable via Tatta Pani is blessed with breathtaking beauty. One can walk along the many mountain springs snarling their way down to the river or picnic under the canopy of trees. There are also numerous small temples of considerable antiquity not too far away.
In winter, temperatures can go down to freezing point when heavy woolens are required. During summer, the climate is warm, evenings tend to get chilly and cottons are recommended
How to Reach
Bhuntar airport in Kullu district is the nearest airport located at a distance of 60 km from Mandi. Regular flights are available from Mandi to Delhi, Chandigarh and Shimla. Gaggal airport in Kangra district is another airport base that connects Mandi to other parts of Himachal Pradesh and India. Local taxi service is available from airport to Mandi city.
Joginder Nagar is the nearest narrow gauge railhead located at a distance of 55 km from Mandi and the nearest broad gauge railway station is at Pathankot, 210 km from Mandi. Kiratpur is another major railway station located at a distance of 130 km from Mandi and lies on the Manali-Chandigarh national highway. A private taxi can be hired from the railway station to reach Mandi city.
Located on the national highway no 20, Mandi is well connected by road to Delhi, Shimla and all the major cities of Himachal Pradesh. It is a 12 hour drive from Delhi to Mandi covering distance of 454 km and 1&1/2 hour drive from Jogindernagar to Mandi covering distance of 55 km.
Inside the city, tourists can hire private taxi at a rate fixed by the taxi trade union of the town. Walking is another option to see the city in great detail.