The historic town of Mandi (800 m) is built along the banks of the river Beas. It has long been an important commercial centre and the sage Mandva is said to have meditated here. This one time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast developing town that still 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, it is often called the 'Varanasi of the Hills'. The town has remains of old palaces and notable examples of 'colonial' architecture. HPTDC runs a hotel here.
CLOTHING: Cotton clothes in Summer and woolen to heavy woolen in winter.
LANGUAGE: Hindi, Punjabi, English are understood and spoken by the people engaged in tourism trade.
RAIL: The nearest railway stations are Joginder Nagar and Shimla by narrow gauge train, Chandigarh and Kalka by broad gauge train which are connected by regular bus services.
ROAD: Mandi is approachable by road from Shimla, Chandigarh, Pathankot and Delhi. There are regular bus services linking it to the other towns like Manali, Palampur and Dharamshala
WHAT TO SEE
REWALSAR: About 25 km from Mandi, 14 km from Ner Chownk 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. Tourist inn maintained by HPTDC provide accomodation and Indian cuisine.
PRASHAR: This lake lies 40 k.m. north of Mandi, with a three storied pagoda like temple dedicated to the sage Prashar.
JOGINDER NAGAR: 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.The roads extends beyond to Mandi and passes the Largi gorge to the Kullu valley.
Bassi power station is five kilometres from Jogindernagar and next to it, is Machinhar where fishing is not permitted as it is considered a sacred spot, but it is a popular as a feeding spot for fish.
SUNDER NAGAR: Famous for its temples,26 k.m. 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.
JANJEHLI: At a distance of 67 k.m. from Mandi,Janjehli is a paradise for hikers, offering treks up to a height of 3,300 metres. After covering 32 k.m. by a motorable road up to Gohar and rest of the journey is on foot. In the midest of thick forest, forests (15 km from Gohar) is Bajahi.There is a beautiful and well furnished rest house to stay overnight, from here Janjehli is a scant 20 km away through bridle path.