Mandi is a town & district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies at an average elevation of 850 meters (2,790 feet) and is surrounded by the high hill ranges of Gandharv Hills, Motipur Dhar, Rehra Dhar, and Tarna Hill. It derives its name from the Hindi word 'mandi' which means 'market' as it was a major trade route from Ladakh to locations in Punjab such as Hoshiarpur and other places. The town has mythological and historical significance and boasts a unique temple architecture. Two small rivulets, Suketi Khad and Skodhi Khad join River Beas that flows through the town and hills, making this town more scenic.
The people of Mandi proudly boast that while Kashi (Varanasi) has only 80 temples, Mandi has 81. Because of this, it is often called the "Varanasi of the Hills" or “Chhota Kashi”. There are many ancient temples in the city and on the banks of river Beas with an enormous range of fine carvings. Most of the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Goddess Kali. There are many classical temples that the Archaeological Survey of India has declared 'protected monuments' due to their historical significance, the primary ones being: 'The Panchvaktra Temple' and 'Ardhnareshwar Temple', which is one of the very few temples of its kind in India. The town has the remains of old palaces and notable examples of ‘colonial’ architecture. Mandi is also the gateway to the Kullu Valley and acts as the base for several exciting excursions. It has thick forests and springs and is a trekking/hiking outpost.
The summers here are pleasant and the winters are cold. Mandi is famous for apples, raw silk, and the rock salt mines. Mandi also has fish markets where brown trout is one of the most demanded fish species. Every year Mandi celebrates the most famous fair - International Shivratri Fair. In March, the festival of Shivratri is a major event. For an entire week, the town celebrates the arrival of hundreds of local deities on elaborately decorated palanquins.
Exploration & Experiences in Mandi-
- Bhootnath Temple
- Prashar Lake
- Barot Valley
- Rewalsar Lake
- Panchvaktra Temple
- Ardhnareshwar Temple