The historic town of Mandi (800 m) is built along the banks of the river Beas. It has long been an important commercial centre and the sage Mandva is said to have meditated here. This one-time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast-developing town that still retains much of its original charm and character. Today, it is a district headquarters.

Mandi is renowned for its 81 old stone temples and their enormous range of fine carving, it is often called the ‘Varanasi of the Hills’. The town has remains of old palaces and notable examples of ‘colonial’ architecture. The temples of Bhutnath, Trilokinath, Panchvaktra and Shyamakali are among the more famous ones.

The week-long international Shivratri fair, Mandi is the major attraction of the area every year. In the year 2011, the fair is scheduled to be held from 3rd-9th March. In the fair, the activities like cultural programmes in the evenings, exhibitions, sports etc. are the major attractions for the tourists as well as locals.