The town has remains of old palaces and notable examples of ‘colonial’ architecture. The temples of Bhootnath, Trilokinath, Panchvaktra and Shyamakali are among the more famous ones. The week long international Shivratri fair in Mandi is the major attraction of the area every year. In the year 2013 the fair was celebrated in March. In the fair the activities like cultural programmes in the evenings, exhibitions, sports etc. attract the tourists as well as locals.
Language: Hindi, Pahari, Punjabi and English are understood and spoken by the people engaged in tourism trade.
Temperature: In winter the temperature can drop to below freezing point Summer temperature stays mild and pleasant.
Clothing: Light woolens and tropical in summer and heavy woolens in winters.
Where to stay: Mandi has accommodation to suit most types of budgets and tastes. HPTDC guest houses, rest Houses, hotels & home stays provide a comfortable stay at reasonable prices. Details are available from local tourist offices.
By Rail: Broad gauge train travels upto Pathankot, from where a narrow gauge train takes you to Joginder Nagar- Mandi distance of 55 Kms can be covered by road.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Bhuntar, 31 Km from Mandi.
Local Transport : Local buses operate regularly. Taxis are also available
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- Enjoy hiking at Jhanjheli.
- Make the way to trekking at Parashar Lake and visit the Parashar temple located at its vicinity.
- Visit Lakes, Monasteries and other Mythological Structures and stories of Rewalsar.
- Visit the many temples of Sunder Nagar.
The town of Mandi with Its ancient temples revels in the Shivratri fair for a whole week. On elaborately decorated palanquins, hundreds of local deities are carried to the town. Accompanied by folk bands, they make their first stop at the Madho Rai Temple and then go to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva at the Bhootnath Temple.
To commemorate the festival of Baisakhi, people take purifying dips in the waters of Parashar Lake. Numerous village fairs complete with wrestling, dancing and archery are also held on this day.
Chaitra and Ashwin Navratra Mela
During the Chaitra Navratra in March/April and Ashiwin Navratra’s in September/October, large number of Pilgrims visits the temples of Mandi to seek the blessings of the Goddess Durga.
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Towering over the region Shikari Devi (altitude 3359 m), is known as the crown of Mandi and is the highest peak of the region. Topped by a roofless temple, the surrounding area of the peak receives a lot of snow but miraculously the wind movements keep the peak dry in winters. Shikari Devi is 101 kms from Mandi.
Kamru Nag Lake
Revered as a rain god, legend has it that Dev Kamru Nag always sides with the weaker side. The story goes as a strong and efficient hill warrior, he set out to side with the Kaurava’s in the great Mahabharata battle recorded in the epic. Before he could reach the battlefield he was tricked by Lord Krishna who had him sacrifice his head as an offering. The lord however, granted him his wish of being able to witness the great battle. The head was then carried up to Kamru Hill, where it was placed by the Lake (approx altitude 3300m) from where he did get to witness the great Mahabharata battle.
A wooden temple beside the scenic lake now houses the deity.
A two-day summer fair Saranahuli, in mid-June, is held here every year where many people from the area trek up to celebrate. Coins, gold and ornaments are thrown into the lake as offerings. The deity does visit Mandi town to participate in the Shivratri celebrations.
Kamru Nag can only be reached on foot and is a stiff uphill trek (5 km) from a place called Rohanda. From Mandi, Rohanda is 55 km and from Sundernagar it is 35 km.
At an altitude of 1360 meters, 25 km from Mandi, are the holy waters of Rewalsar Lake. There is a convergence of religions at this scenic spot for it is considered sacred by Hindus, Sikhs, and the Buddhists. There are many temples, a Gurudwara and Buddhist monasteries around the lake. Fish in the lake waters are considered sacred and no fishing is allowed.
A legend about the lake is that the Mandi King wanted to kill Guru Padmasambhava when he learned that his daughter Mandarava wanted to run away with him. Guru Padmasambhava, the missionary, spread Buddhism to Tibet where he is known as Guru Rinpoche.
The king tried to set the two on fire but the Guru used his supernatural powers that turned the pyre into a lake. The Guru took a spiritual flight to Tibet from Rewalsar, but believers hold that his spirit still resides in the lake. An imposing statue of Padmasambhava overlooking the waters marks his presence at Rewalsar.
The Gurudwara at Rewalsar, built in 1930, commemorates a month long stay that Sikh Guru Gobind Singh spent by the serene waters.
There are also three Hindu temples which are dedicated to Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and the sage Lomas.
This Lake lies 45 Km north of Mandi, with a three storied pagoda like temple dedicated to the sage Parashar. The Lake is located at an height of 2,730 m above sea level. With deep blue waters, the Lake is held sacred to the sage Parashar and he is regarded to have meditated here. Framed by snow-capped peaks and looking down on fast flowing river Beas, the lake can be approached via Drang. Every year in the month of June, famous traditional fair is held here. Several camping sites are also located here and it is the base for numerous easy & hard treks.
Tarna Devi Hill
Overlooking Mandi township in the valley, atop Tarna Hill is the 17th-century Syamakali Temple dedicated to goddess Kali. Being a consort of Lord Shiva, the goddess is worshipped for her ferocity in dealing with evil. Other important temples are the Mahamritunjya Temple, which houses a Lord Shiva idol sitting in a meditative posture. There is also a Ganpati Temple and a Bhima Kali temple on the bank of the river. There are many other temples at Mandi that preserve the town’s heritage. Mandi also has a Sikh connection. Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, did spend some time in the place during a time when he was waging a war against Aurangzeb, the mighty Mughal. A majestic Gurudwara constructed on the bank of the river is known as Gurudwara Palang Sahib. A bed (palang) housed in this Gurudwara is believed to have been used by the Guru.
Shivratri being the main festival is held annually with much fanfare. Celebrated on a moonless night during the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna (February/March), the festivities mark the overcoming of evil, ignorance, and darkness with light. Another belief for celebrating Shivratri is that it commemorates the marriage of Shiva with Parvati. Festivities break out with offerings and prayers at Bhootnath temple. A grand parade of men wearing colorful turbans is also held. For Shivratri, more than 200 deities from the neighboring region congregate at Mandi. These deities, carried on elaborately decorated palanquins, make their way for an annual round of the most revered temples. Music, song, dance, and drama make the air feel rich with its deep tone of revelry punctuated by innate spirituality. In the evenings, local and international troupes present cultural items. The Mandi Shivratri has been accorded an International Fair status.
The large hydro-electric project in Jogindernagar 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. Barot is a beautiful place, 40 Km from Jogindernagar via Ghatasani. A trout breeding centre, makes it a wonderful place for angling. Barot has all the ingredients of a retreat. Jhatingri, 5 Km from Ghatasani on Barot road is another beautiful visitable place. Bassi power station is five Km from Jogindernagar and next to it, is Machindar where fishing is not permitted as it is considered a sacred spot, but it is a popular as a feeding spot for fish.
Manifest as the all powerful lord presiding over the three worlds of heaven, earth and hell that is depicted in the three headed idol at the Trilokinath Temple, this is one of the most important temples of Mandi.
As one who holds the five elements earth, water, air, fire and ether together, the five headed Shiva at Panchvaktra Temple is a highly revered shrine. Located at the confluence of Suketi with Beas river, the temple has very scenic surroundings.
Karsog valley in the Mandi district is famous for apple orchards and dense forests. In the Karsog area Kamaksha Devi and Mahunag are the famous temples. Karsog is situated at a distance of 125 Km from Mandi and is also accessible from Shimla (100 Km) via Tattapani. The place Tattapani is famous for hot water springs on the side of Satluj River.
This picturesque valley, at an altitude of 2150 meters, is about 85 kms from Mandi. The farms and orchards laid out on gentle slopes, with mighty deodar (Cedar) and oak forests scaling the heights give Janjehli a laid back rural charm. It is a trekkers delight, with Janjehli being used as a base for many trekking routes that break out for places like Shikari Devi, Kamru Nag, Chindi, Karsog and Shoja from here.
This wonderful place is being developed to offer more activities for tourists. With an increase in tourist influx, more employment opportunities for locals will be created. One of the most popular treks from here is to the Shikari Devi Temple. It is roughly another 15 kilometres from Janjheli. One can also trek to Karsog valley, about 16 km from here. Another place one just shouldn’t miss is the Kamru Nag Lake & Temple which is 16 km from Shikari Devi Temple.
Sunder Nagar Famous for its temples, 26 Km from Mandi towards Shimla and at a height of 1,174 metres on the raised edge of a fertile valley, the beautiful town of Sundernagar is known for its shady walks amidst towering trees. On top of a hill and visited by thousands of devotees every year, is the Sukhdev Vatika and temple of Mahamaya. The biggest hydro-electric project in all Asia, the Beas-Sutlej project, irrigating nearly one-fourth of the northern plains of India has brought unprecedented prosperity to Sudernagar. The Beas-Sutlej link colony is the biggest colony in Himachal Pradesh.