The people of Mandi proudly boast that while Kashi (Benaras) has
only 80 temples, Mandi has 81! And it is no idle boast. J.C. French
supported their assertion when he described the town as a miniature
Benaras with innumerable temples, old houses, long flights of steps,
the streets steep and winding and the market place with an aura
of medieval picturesque ness.
Sati pillars called barselas in the local dialect are erected on
the left bank of the Suketi Bridge. These six to seven feet high
stone pillar are erected in the memory of the deceased rulers of
Mandi. When one died it was required by custom to put up such a
pillar to perpetuate his memory. His likeness was chiseled on the
pillar with his name, date of death along with the names of his
wives, concubines and slave girls who perished on his funeral pyre
to provide him company in distant world.
The most conspicuous monument is the palace of the Raja of Mandi,
which stands in the southern part of the town and presents a number
of tall white buildings, with roofs like those of the Chinese pagoda.
About 25 km from Mandi town and 6000 feet above sea level, on the
crest of Sikandhar Dhar is the Rewalsar Lake, a place of Pilgrimage.
The lake is dotted with seven huge masses of reeds, which give the
appearance of small floating islands when the breeze is strong.
There are three shrines by the lake, a Buddhist monastery, a temple
and a gurudwara (Sikh temple).
On a high ground is situated the temple of Shyama Kali also known
as Tarna Devi, one of the goddesses of Hindu mythology. It is dedicated
to the consort of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu philosophy a woman
has two sides to her nature, one extremely tender and the other
highly ferocious. In this temple the divine consort of Lord Shiva
is depicted as Kali or Shakti (power) full of fury. The legend goes
that once the goddess started dancing and the dance began slowly.
Gradually the tempo increased and reached a peak of frenzy. In her
ecstasy, her movements, which were delicate and graceful at the
start, became wild and terrifying like the tremors of an earthquake.
The earth shook and vibrated under the impact of her movements.
Panic stricken, people ran to Shiva for help. He obliged them by
lying down in her path. Kali stepped on Shiva’s prostrate
figure but as soon as she realized who it was, she stopped in her
tracks. The idol depicts her in the Rudra Roop or the fearsome form
with a garland of human skulls and protruding tongue.
With a rich legacy of venerated temples, it is natural that religious
festivals like Janmastami and Shivratri are celebrated at Mandir
with much fervor. Janmastami, the birthday of Lord Krishna, is observed
as a state function with perfect decorum. The main ceremony takes
place in the temple of Madho Raj.
By far the most important religious festival is Mahashivratri when
the village deities are carried to Mandi to the temple of Baba Bhootnath.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. From far-flung villages
these deities are brought in richly decorated palanquins swaying
on the shoulders of the devotees to the singing of devotional songs
and blowing of conch shells. The devotees believe that at the time
of drought, water drawn from the Beas and poured on the idol of
Baba Bhootnath, brings rain by the time the poured water drains
back in to the Beas. The Shivratri fair lasts for about eight days
and is inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. The
palanquins with the deities are assembled in the main ground of
Mandi. The people in their multicolored robes and skullcaps present
a glorious sight against the backdrop of the Dhaulagiri hills. So
much color and gaiety can only be witnessed either at Mandi or at
Kullu during Dussehra in October.
Bhuntar Airport of Himachal Pradesh is the nearest, 63 km (flight
from Delhi via Chandigarh).
Nearest station is Kiratpur 125 km away.
Approachable by road via Chandigarh (200 km), Pathankot (205 km),
Shimla (165 km), Kullu (71 km), Delhi (465 km) and Manali (107 km).
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation runs deluxe buses
form Mandi to Manali, Kullu, Chandigarh, Shimla and Delhi.
Holets & Accomodation
There are numbers of hotels available to accommodate the tourists.
The price range varies widely to meet the need of different levels
of tourist’s budget.
Languages : Himachali, Hindi, local
Best time to visit : During Summer
STD Code : 01905
General Information & Accomdation info on Mandi city of Himachal Pradesh - India