Mandi is also known as “Chotti Kashi” due to its similarity with Varanasi in respect of Ghats on the bank of Beas River and temples of Lord Shiva near the Ghats. The place is often described as cultural capital of Himachal Pradesh due to its rich culture, traditions and temple architectural heritage. In ancient times Mandi was not only a business centre on the old silk route to Tibet but also a centre for cultural exchange. Mandi, the abode of Baba Bhoot Nath, was known as Mandavya Nagari as Mandav Rishi mediated on a rock, known as Kolsara, in the Beas river. The famous International Shivratri Fair is celebrated every year during months of February/March. Dieties from different corners of the District throng this town during the fair. People of Mandi are known for their liveliness and distinct life style embedded in faith and traditions. There are many temples in Mandi Town like Triloki Nath Temple at Purani Mandi, Raja Madhav Temple in DC Office Complex, Bhoot Nath Temple at famous Chouhata Bazar, Tarna Shayamkali Temple on Tarna Hills overlooking Mandi Town, Panchvaktra Mahadev Temple on the confluence of Suketi and Beas River, Ardhanareshwar Temple at Samkhetar Street, Bhimakali Temple at Bheuli. In addition many other temples of archaeological and religious importance can be visited. Historical Ghantaghar, Indira Market, Victoria Bridge and Gurudwara are other famous places of interest in the Town. It is a base camp to visit tourist places such as Prashar, Barot, Joginder Nagar, Kamlah Fort, Shikari Devi, Kamrunag, etc.
The historic bell house was built in the middle of the city in 1939. The three-storey pagoda style architectural heritage is located in the center of a commercial complex known as Indira Bazar. A lot of bells ring in the first floor. A small park known as Subhash Garden, resting around the Gharat home and famous temple of Goddess Siddhi Kali has also been developed.
Victoria Birdge is the first bridge of the town which connects Purani Mandi and Mandi town. It was built by the King of Mandi, Raja Vijayi Singh Sen with help of Britishers in the year of 1877. This bridge had been constructed like the Hanging Victoria Bridge on Tames River in England. This is constructed on the style of Jhulla bridge and still operational for small vehicles.
In Mandi there is a Gurudwara in front of Paddal ground with NH-21 which is an important religious place. Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Mandi and Guru Gobind Singh Ji stayed for more than six months in Geely. The construction of the gurdwara of the Mandi was started by Raja Ajabar Sen in 1527 AD and was later rebuilt by King Jogindra Sen, Rani Amrit Kaur and the Chief Secretary of the Mandi State, Dinsha Nath. Guru Gobind Singh Ji had gifted many things to the king of Mandi, which he donated to the gurudwara. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib’s sacred bed, holy ram, sacred gun, holy gun kapi and holy flute (still) are still preserved in the gurudwara. There is also a rock which is called the Kolasara in Beas river, on which Guru Gobind Singh used to meditate daily during his stay in the Saheb Mandi.
Photo Art Gallery
About 5 Km from Mandi town on NH-21 towards Kullu a photo art gallery exists and tourist visiting the area can drop in for some time to have a glimpse of history and important places of Himachal from the photographs and artefacts displayed in the art gallery.