Bhootnath Temple is a popular tourist destination located at the heart of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. According to records, this temple was built in 1527 AD by Raja Ajber Sen. Dedicated to the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva, this temple was constructed during the time when the state capital was being shifted from Bhiuli to its current place.
According to a legend, Raj Madhav, the deity who ruled the state of Mandi, along with other hill deities, visits the temple and offers prayers before beginning with a procession during the festival of Shivaratri. This festival is celebrated here in a grand manner for the duration of one whole week and is attended by thousands of devotees. It is also believed that 100 local deities come to the festival.
Tarna Temple, nestled on the Tarna Hill in the Mandi district, is a popular tourist attraction. Devoted to an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Parvati, Goddess Shyama Kali, this temple was built by King Shyam Sen during the 17th century. Also known as the Shyama Kali Temple, this shrine can be reached after climbing 305 stairs from the main bazaar. Beautiful paintings of Hindu deities and gurus are displayed inside the temple.
Prashar Lake is located in the picturesque village of Prashar at a distance of 62 km from Mandi. Perched at an altitude of 2730 m above sea level, there is a three-storeyed temple located on the banks of the lake. Dedicated to the popular sage Prashar, this temple is constructed on the spot where he used to mediate. Surrounded by beautiful snow-clad mountains, the water of this lake is deep blue in colour. However, the depth of this lake has still not been determined. Travellers can also see a tiny island in the lake.
Pandoh Dam built on the Beas river is a hydroelectric power generating dam, located at an elevation of 76 m. Kullu and Manali receive their power supply from this dam at large. Falling on the route to Manali from Kullu, the dam serves as a point for travellers to stop and enjoy the beauty of the place. The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) is responsible for the development, management and maintenance of the dam.
Rewalsar Lake, located at an altitude of 1350 m above sea level, is a noted tourist destination and a pilgrimage centre of Mandi. This unique pilgrim centre has three Buddhist monasteries as well as three Hindu temples. It is also considered sacred amongst the Sikhs as the 10th Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, is believed to have resided here for a month.
The monasteries located here are known as Tso Pema by Buddhists while the temples are dedicated to the Hindu deities Krishna and Shiva and a sage known as Lomas. According to a legend, it was from this place that the Buddhist teacher and tantric, known as the Guru Rinpoche, or Padmasambhava, left for Tibet.
Located at a distance of about 25 km from Mandi, this lake has a boundary of 735 m. Rewalsar is famous for the Sisu Fair, held in the end of February or early March, and the festival of Baisakhi. These festivals draw large numbers of devotees to the place every year.
Gurudwara Gobind Singh is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru. It is under his leadership that the Sikh community united and fought against the Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb. During this war, Guru Gobind Singh received enormous support from the king of the state. Situated on the banks of the river Beas, this gurdwara is also known as the Gurudwara Palang Sahabas. There is the bed on which Guru Gobind Singh used to sleep. Apart from that, a musical instrument called the Rabab, a gun and a gun kuppy that Guru Gobind Singh used are also preserved here. A big tank of water, believed to have medicinal properties, lies adjacent to the gurdwara. The interiors of the gurdwara are looked after by the royal family.
Sunder Nagar, located at a distance of 24 km from Mandi, is known for its beautiful temples including the famous Mahamaya Temple and the Sukhdev Vatika. This princely state was formerly known as Suket. The municipal council of the district of Mandi is located here in Sundernagar. Situated at an elevation of 861 m, this town is known for the Beas-Sutlej Hydel Project, which is regarded as the biggest hydroelectric project in Asia. This hydel project serves as a major source of irrigation to the northern Indian plains.
Mahamrityunjaya Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, enshrines a unique idol of the deity. The idol depicts Shiva sitting in the lotus position in a meditative mood with his third eye open. Lord Shiva’s idol has four arms of which his upper right hand is raised to bless; the left upper hand is holding a pot filled with the water of immortality; his lower right hand is seen in a Bhumisparsha Mudra; his upper left hand is holding a kamandal, a pot holding water.
Janjheli, located at an elevation of 2200 m above sea level, is well known for adventure sports like hiking, trekking, mountaineering and skiing. Night safari at Janjheli is an activity that is very popular amongst visitors. Situated at a distance of 67 km from Mandi, Janjheli has several trekking routes, which connect destinations like Shoja, Karsog, the Shikari Devi Temple, Chindi, the Kamru Nag Temple and Rampur.
Shikari Devi Temple is an important religious site for Hindus, located at an elevation of 2850 m above sea level in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. It is an ancient roofless temple nestled on Shikari Devi Peak. According to a legend, all attempts to build a roof for the temple in the past have failed. Dedicated to the worship of Shikari Devi, this temple is situated at a distance of 15 km from Janjheli. Visitors can trek to Shikari Devi Peak from here as the main base camp for trekking is also situated in this place.
Shopping is one of the popular activities that visitors enjoy in Mandi. The destination is popular for its ethnic handicrafts, silver jewelleries and stone carvings. There are several Tibetan shops at Mandi which sell traditional Tibetan goods. Articles displaying Pahari woodwork done on sheesham wood or deodar wood and depicting various Hindu deities are also quite famous amongst travellers. Considered as the gateway to Tibet in olden times, Mandi has been a town for traders for centuries.
Rani Amrit Kaur Park, nestled on the Tarna Hills, is a prominent tourist attraction situated at a distance of 5 km from Mandi. This park was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1957. The Tarna Devi Temple, built in 15th century, displays the Nagari style of architecture. It is located in proximity to the park and attracts numerous tourists.
Gyarah Rudra Temple is a prominent pilgrimage site located in Mandi. Devoted to the Hindu god of destruction, Shiva, this temple is decorated in such a way that it looks like the famous Amarnath Cave Temple.
Nyingma Monastery, regarded as one of the most popular monasteries of the region, is known for its beautiful thangka paintings. These paintings decorate the inner walls of the monastery. This monastery predates His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet and his arrival to India. It is believed to be more than 100 years old.