Many reckon Mandi to be a small hill station lying between Manali and Punjab. And with many hill stations in Himachal Pradesh living in Manali's shadow, Mandi can be easily assumed to be barely another quiet hill station in the North. However, with stunning views of flowing river, cascading mountains and lush forests, Mandi offers a rejuvenating and a peaceful holiday for nature lovers.
Mandi, located at an elevation of 2094 ft in Himachal Pradesh, is a serene hill station and an acting gateway to Kullu, Leh & Ladakh and other areas of Jammu & Kashmir. With abundant green, tall pine trees and snow-clad mountain peaks, Mandi has fascinated tourists for centuries. Besides its natural bounties, it is the first heritage city in Himachal Pradesh, hosting many old Palaces with Colonial architecture.
Here is a complete travel guide for Mandi tour.
How To Reach Mandi
By air: Chandigarh Airport is the nearest airport, located about 116 km from Mandi. Besides the airport, there is also an airbase that is situated in Bhunter about 60 km away from Mandi.
By train: Pathankot railway station is the nearest railway station located about 210 km from Mandi. You can avail a bus or cab from there on, to reach Mandi.
By road: The city of Mandi is well connected to all the towns and neighbouring states like Delhi, Punjab and Haryana through regular HRTC bus service.
Best Time To Visit Mandi
Mandi experiences moderate weather conditions with hot summers and cold winters. Summers are warm enough for wearing cotton clothes while winters are cold with the temperature dropping below freezing point. Heavy woollens are recommended during winters. However, the weather from January till June is pleasant, making it ideal for holiday-makers.
Places To Visit In Mandi
1. Prashar Lake
Located at an altitude of 2735 m and situated about 50 km North of Mandi, Prashar Lake is a crystal clear water body; full of mystic charm. Prashar Lake is also a pilgrimage place, that is home to a 13th century Pagoda temple. According to the legends, the temple is said to be created by Gods. And that is debatable for apparent reasons. Nevertheless, its lush green valleys, interspersed by rivers and lakes offer one of the best scenic views and acts as an ideal visual retreat.
2. Bhutnath Temple
Built as a tribute to Lord Shiva, the history of Bhutnath temple goes back to the 14th century. Bhutnath Temple is as old as the town itself. Known for its religious prominence, tens of thousands of people flock into Bhutnath Temple every year. Pilgrims are greeted by a well decked Nandi or Shiva's Bull at the temple's entrance, which is a stunning idol on its own. If you visit in February, you can partake in one of the famous festivals celebrated in Mandi, Shivaratri.
3. Pandoh Dam
Constructed on Beas River, this Dam was completed in the year 1977, as a hydroelectric power generating source. It is located about 10 km away from Manali and attracts a significant number of people with picturesque views of mountains, flowing river and azure blue sky. This man-made water body allures many migratory and local birds, offering a visual treat to the nature lovers and wildlife photographers. And if you like engaging in adventure activities, you can try river rafting at the lower bed. Since it is located amidst the best scenic views and far away from human activity, Pandoh Dam offers much-required serenity and tranquillity to the tourists and travellers.
4. Rewalsar Lake
Located 23 km to the South of Manali, Rewalsar Lake, also called as Tso Pema Lotus Lake is a must-visit place in Mandi. Rewalsar Lake is adorned with hundreds of lotuses and floating reeds; providing a picture-perfect scenic view for photographers and nature lovers. The mixture of water, woodland and hills at this stunning lake here exemplify the wilderness of nature and are indeed a sight to behold. The infinite sparkling beauty of the Rewalsar Lake and its surrounding are breathtaking.
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Things To Do In Mandi
1. Enjoy Adventure Sports
Mandi's geographical location offers many natural bounties like lakes, rivers and hills to indulge in many fun-filled activities. Adventure activities like rock climbing, mountaineering, trekking, white water rafting, mountain biking and paragliding allures a lot of crowd from across the country. Be it the Prashar Lake trek or river rafting at the lower bed of Pandoh Dam; Mandi has enough adventure activities to keep you entertained.
If you like spending some private time with your loved ones abreast stargazing, Mandi is the right place for you. There are many camping spots; however, Barot Valley serves as the best campsites for its views and location. The months of March to June is the best time to indulge in camping with your loved ones.
Mandi has many scenic trekking trails, especially Prashar Lake trek. Prashar Lake is one of the famous places visited by tourists. The best part about the trek is that you don't need any prior hiking or trekking experience because the trail is safe and rookie-friendly. The trek starts at Bagi, a village situated in Manali and leads to Prashar Lake. The pathway is filled with diverse flora and fauna and offers a picturesque view of mountains, rolling hills and rivers. And once you are at the Prashar Lake, you will be awe-inspired by the sight of sky-high mountains looking down on you.
4. Bath In The Hot Springs
Tattapani, meaning ‘hot water', is located on the banks of River Sutlej. Surrounded by panoramic view of hills, the place houses natural sulphur spring which is said to own curative properties to cure many ailments. Pamper yourself at the natural hot springs to have a rejuvenating experience.