The historic town of Mandi, in the district of the same name, is located around 145 km from the capital city of Shimla. Situated on the Shivalik foothills at an elevation of 760 meters above sea level, this place is popular for its scenic landscape. Although a fast developing town, it retains much of its splendor and ancient charm in its stone temples. Featuring unique architecture and design, Mandi temples are part of its rich cultural heritage. There are a number of temples spread across this town that resembles the shikhara style of architecture. It is now a prominent Hindu pilgrimage destination and known as the 'Varanasi of the Hills'.
Popular Mandi Temples
Mandi has around 81 Shaivite (belonging to the Hindu sect Shaivism) temples and other ancient Hindu shrines mostly built of stone. Their architecture and surrounding (near the Beas River) are striking features of these temples. The Archaeological Survey of India also lists many of these as protected monuments. They are among the top tourist attractions here apart from being places of worship.
Indian Holiday offers information on some of the popular Mandi temples.
Mata Kuan Rani Temple - Situated by a deep well on the banks of the Beas River, this Hindu temple is known as the 'Princess of the Well Temple'. Prime attractions here include the well that is covered by a slate roof. This well is dedicated to Princess Mandarava. According to legends, she became a consort of Buddhist saint Panmasambhava. This makes Mata Kuan Rani Temple significant for Tibetan pilgrims as well.
Trilok Nath Temple - This temple in Mandi, built by Rani Sultan Devi, houses a three-faced figure of Lord Shiva. The inner wall carvings and the stone figure of Nandi (the bull of Lord Shiva) are of great interest to tourists.
Ardhnareshwar Temple - An interesting feature of this temple is the idol of Lord Shiva that represents an integrated form of a man (right) and woman (left). It is replete with elaborate stone carvings that make it a popular tourist attraction and pilgrimage site.
Pancha Vaktra Temple - This shrine in Mandi houses a five-faced idol of Lord Shiva, which is the principal deity. The shikhara style of architecture is also of interest to visitors.