Mandi : a lively town of Himachal Pradesh

Mandi is a lively town situated in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. This spot of charm spreads across 3,950 sq. km. and is situated beside the banks of the Beas River. The local languages are Hindi and Punjabi. Mandi has derived its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Mandoika’, meaning ‘an open hall’.

An antique collection of temples made of rock, enriched with minute carvings add unparalleled value to this exceptional site. This Indian treasure holds 81 such monumental pieces breaking the record of Varanasi (Varanasi, a pilgrim centre in India is famous for its 80 consecrated temples) and it is often called the 'Varanasi of the Hills'. This energetic town is well known for its precious palaces, its market, culture, tradition and the remains of the regal architectural craftsmanship.

To facilitate the travellers and tourists, there is a hotel with accommodation and Indian cuisine. It also provides facilities for boating. 49 temples are situated here and are said to be made of hard rock adopting the shikara style of construction, seen on either sides of the river Beas.

At a distance of 25 kms from Mandi is the charming Rewalsar Lake (in the crest of the Sikandhar Dhar) Its grace and beauty adds splendor to this vivacious town. This lake is famous for its beautiful islands. This lake is considered sacred by all the three dominant religions.

There are three consecrated shrines located in this town relating to distinct religions. A Buddhist Monastery (Buddhism), Gurudwara (Sikhism) and the Kali temple (Hindus). It has been said that a Buddhist Sage, Padma Sambhava with his followers left for Tibet from here, to preach the principles of ‘The Enlightened’.

It has been said that the 10th Guru of Sikhs had visited Mandi and was invited by the King to stay in a location which was once the house of a Hindu saint. Hence there is a temple dedicated to this guru, ‘the Gurudwara’.

Located 40 km to the north of this town is the Prashar Lake. There is a temple dedicated to a Sage named Prashar, which is a 3 floored elegant piece of architecture.

A huge Hydro Electric Project in Joginder Nagar is a very popular spot amongst scenic locations. This mountain has an altitude of 8,202 feet and drops steeply on the other side to Barot where a reservoir is located. Tourists and visitors can have a spine-tingling experience on an electric trolley which takes them through the stunning rocky and steep location.

The famous Shyama Kali temple is dedicated to goddess Kali also known as the Tarna Devi. In this temple, Lord Shiva is postured at the foot of Kali. The Kali’s idol is depicted wearing a garland of human skulls. The Kali also has a protruding tongue lending a furious expression.

The main tourist location encompasses 2 hill districts namely Suket and Mandi. This rich location was once imposing with an array of 360 forts. But now due to various calamities, the remains of hardly 10 forts are to be found. Sati Pillars (Barselas in the local language) are 6 to 7 feet high, are made of rough stones and are situated to the left bank of the Suketi Bridge.

The Palaces situated to the south of this pretty town are simply mesmerizing consisting of large numbers of tall buildings with roofs built in the Chinese gable style of architecture. Janmastami (the birthday of Lord Krishna) and the Shivratri are the major festivals celebrated here. During Mahashivratri, the inhabitants of Mandi visit the Baba Bhootnath (Lord Shiva) Temple. The Shivratri fair lasts for about eight days.

Shimla and Joginder Nagar (narrow gauge) and Chandigarh and Kalka (broad gauge) are the nearest railheads to reach Mandi. Roads to Chandigarh, Delhi, Pathankot and Shimla are connected to this energetic city.

If you wish to couple your trip with other holiday destinations like Kullu, Manali, Dharamshala and Palampur, bus services are available at regular intervals connecting them with Mandi.