Mandi district is one of the central districts of Himachal Pradesh state in northern India. The town of Mandi is the headquarters of the district. The town has mythological and historical significance and boasts of a unique temple architecture. It is referred to as Chhoti Kashi as there are many ancient temples in the city and on the banks of river Beas.
The town is an important commercial hub of the state. It is a major transit route to Kullu-Manali and other adjoining places from NH 3 (Atari-Manali-Leh) and NH-154 (Pathankot-Sundernagar-Bilaspur and further up to Chandigarh ). Sundarnagar is one of the emerging towns of the district.
The main native language is Mandeali.
As of 2011 it is the second most populous district of Himachal Pradesh (out of 12), after Kangra.
Places of Interest
The historic town of Mandi is built along the banks of the river Beas. It has long been an important commercial centre, and the sage Mandvya is said to have meditated here. This one-time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast developing town that 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. Because of this, it is often called the “Varanasi of the Hills.” The town has the remains of old palaces and notable examples of colonial architecture. Mandi is the gateway to the Kullu valley and acts as the base for several exciting excursions.
Dev Balakameshwar Temple
The state of Himachal Pradesh is said to be protected and sheltered by the power of numerous local deities. Every region in Himachal believes in a distinct deity. All the faith of the local people is vested in these local gods called ‘devta’ in the regional language. Each of these deities has its individual identity with some peculiar personality traits. Dev Balakameshwar temple is located 13 km from Mandi in Devdhar village. This devta is the son of Dev Kamru Nag.
Practically synonymous with Mandi and located in its very heart, Bhootnath Temple is as old as the town itself and dates to the 1520 s. In March, the festival of Shivratri is a major event and the Bhootnath Temple is its focus. For an entire week, the town celebrates the arrival of hundreds of local deities on elaborately decorated palanquins.
About 25 km from Mandi, 14 km from Ner Chowk is the Rewalsar lake, famous for its floating islands of reed. It is believed that all seven of them can be moved by prayer or breeze. There are three shrines here: a Buddhist monastery, where elaborate rituals are performed, a Sikh gurudwara, and a Hindu temple. It was from this place that the sage Padma Sambhava, a zealous teacher of Buddhism, left as a missionary to preach the doctrine of “the enlightened” in Tibet. Lying in a mountain hollow, the lake is held sacred to all three communities; boating facilities are available. A tourist inn maintained by HPTDC provides accommodation and Indian cuisine.
Prashar Lake lies 49 km north of Mandi, with a three-storied pagoda-like temple dedicated to the sage Prashar. It was made in the 13th or 14th century by Maharaja Bansen. The temple is a bit tilted due to a heavy earthquake. There are 2 annual fairs at the temple, held in April and June. There is a small pond nearby, a small piece of land floats on it, its position changes by the change of seasons.
The large hydro-electric project in Joginder Nagar has an electric trolley takes visitors up the steep, rocky face of a 2,500 metres-high (8,202 ft) mountain and drops sharply on the other side to Barot, where the reservoir is.
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 extend beyond to Mandi and passes the Larji gorge to the Kullu valley.
Bassi power station is 8 kilometres from Joginder Nagar. Next to it is Machhial where fishing is not permitted as it is considered a holy sacred spot. It is a common as a feeding spot for fish.
Lad-Bharol: 25 km from Joginder Nagar, santan dati maa simsa mata mandir in nearby Lad-Bharol, 7 km from Lad-Bharol, Nageshwar Mahadev Coudh is near Bharol. The Triveni Mahadev where three rivers Bias, Binwa and one local are meeting with each other. A very ancient Lord Shiva temple is there at the intersecting of three rivers.
Santan Datri Man Shimsha (Sharda) is at Village Shimashjust on the top of hill of Triveni Mahadev. Childless women pray and sleep inside the temple in Navratras and maa blessed them with different fruits indicating boy or girl.
Nageshwar Mahadev Kud is in the foothills of village shimash and there is ancient goofa in which lot of natural shivlings. A unique and natural combined shivling of Shiva and Parvati, a unique and natural Sculpture of Nandi Bail and finally a unique and natural shivling with NAG; that is why it is known as Nageshwar Mahadev.
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 town of Sunder Nagar 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 Sunder Nagar. The Beas-Sutlej link colony is the biggest colony in Himachal Pradesh.
At a distance of 80 km from Mandi, Janjehli is a paradise for hikers, offering treks up to a height of 3,300 metres. All the road is motorable and fun to ride. The road is connected to Karsog which remains open all seasons except some weeks of winter. It takes about 3 hours to reach here from Mandi via Baggi, Chail Chowk and Thunag (Tehsil Headquarters). In the midst of thick forest, forests (15 km from Gohar) is Bajahi. From here Janjehli is a scant 20 km away through bridle path. Chindi and Karsog are places for meditation. Janlehli is popular for adventure activities like-trekking, night safari, mountaineering, and skiing. At the distance of 10 km from janjehli is the Shikari Mata temple.
The temple is all about Goddess “Shikari Devi” and people visits here in masses to accolades for their well being.
Barot (Himachal Pradesh) is a picnic spot and tourist location in Mandi district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated 40 km from Jogindernagar and 66 km from Mandi, the district headquarters. The road to Barot branches off at Jogindernagar-Mandi high ways and from Jogindernagar the distance is 40 km. It was possible to use the trolley from Jogindernagar which reduces the distance to 12 km. However, the trolley has not been operational since about 2010. The route includes terraced fields and thick cedar forests, rising to Jhatingri at the hilltop. The remains of the summer palace of the former rulers of Mandi are located here. The road descends steeply along a precipitous gorge to the little village of Tikkan on the Uhl River. The road winds along the right bank of the Uhl up to Barot. The town has a range of outdoor activities, including a trout breeding centre from where fish are released into the Uhl. A 30 km section of the river is used for angling. Accommodation at Barot includes the PWD Resthouse, the Forest Resthouse and a number of private hotels and homestays.
Barot also forms the gateway to the Nargu Wildlife Sanctuary which lies across the Uhl. The sanctuary is home to the monal, black bear and ghoral. Within it are forest rest houses at Thaltuckhod and Silbandhwari. Through woods of cedar and pine a trek route cuts across the sanctuary to Kullu.
Kotli is small town just 22 km from Mandi city. Kotli is a tehsil of Mandi Himachal Pradesh. Kotli and the surrounding area are known as Tungal Valley and has great importance. NH 003 (old number NH 70) from Mandi to Jalandhar passes through here. Kotli has almost every facility like Offices of tehsil, IPH, HP PWD & Electricity Board Sub Divisions, Govt College, ITI, Schools, Post Office, Hospital, etc. Kotli is the important and main village of tungal valley Kotli is also a Gram Panchayat. There are various temples in the surrounding vicinity e.g. Janitri Mata (14 km from Kotli), Mahan Dev (14 km), Jagad Dev (3 km), Rachera Dev (2 km). Mahan dev is also known as Bada Dev.
Scope of Tourism: there are some places near Kotli like janitri dhar, rachera dev, where tourist can visit and enjoy the picnic, but due to lack of infrastructure and hotels very few people visit here. The PWD & Forest Resthouses are available for night stay at Kotli. Most of the population here are literate and the main occupation is agriculture. Govt and private services are also sources of employment. Many families have one member serving in the Indian Army. Arnodi Khad flows along the Tungal Valley to meet the River Beas at Kun ka Tar. Famous fairs are the Saigaloo nar wadi, Mahan Dev, and Janitri Devi.
Dharmpur is mainly famous for its situation between the comical shaped Lower Shivalik Hills and Beas Riverside, though hot weather is prevalent due to its low altitude. At a distance of 68 kilometers from Mandi on (Mandi-Hamirpur-Amritsar NH3) Dharmpur is a sub-tehsil of Mandi district. It is mainly famous for temple of Baba Kamlahia, Jalpa Mata and ‘Kandhapattan’ famous for crematorium are located in Dharmpur sub-division.
Kamlah Fort is a 17th-century fort located near Kamlah village, west of Mandi town. It was probably constructed in 1625 by Raja Suraj Sen of Mandi.