Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: Previously known as Mandev Nagar (and Sahor in Tibetan), Mandi in Himachal derives its roots from the great Hindu sage, Rishi ‘Mandav’ who prayed in this area. It is said that his penance was so severe, that the rocks of the surrounding areas turned black. Mandi is famous for its 80 ancient temples, because of which it is also called ‘Chhoti Kashi’.
Given below are the top 10 places which deserve a visit in Mandi district.
A small village, Barot is situated in the Uhl river valley. Barot was initially developed in the 1920s for the Shanan Hydro Power Project, but has now become a must visit the spot on the list of backpackers and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of cities.
Nestled at a comfortable height of 6000 feet, Barot is a nature lover’s paradise. Boasting of splendid views of snow-capped peaks and a comfortable temperature during summers, Barot is a quiet, peaceful place where nature lovers can fulfil multiple interests.
2. Mamleshwara Mahadev Temple:
This temple is one of the most famous and important temples of the Karsog valley. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is a sacred place where Rishi Bhrigu meditated. It is believed that the Pandavas constructed the outer part of the temple during their exile. There is a fire within the temple premises that keeps burning, 24/7 in their honour.
Another legend that is associated with this temple relates to the time of the Ramayana. It is believed that after Ravana was killed by Lord Ram, his soul could not be free until and unless an image of Lord Shiva was not installed here, which Lord Ram did by using his supernatural powers. Navratri is celebrated with great pomp in this temple.
Chindi, a small, secluded place located 14 kilometres away from Karsog is a perfect place to visit for those who wish to spend a few days in the peace and quiet of the hills. Off the beaten track, this village is famous for its apple orchards, and the numerous temples that are located within a radius of 20 kilometres.
4. Pangna Valley:
Lying at a distance of around 22 kilometres, this valley is as beautiful and divine as the Karsog valley. It also houses the famous Pangna Fort, which is famous for its exemplary architecture, that includes wooden carvings typical of the region. The seven-storey high fort contains an ancient Durga Temple within.
Located at a distance of 50 kilometres from the state capital Shimla, Tattapani is famous for its hot water springs. Sitting at a height of 2250 feet, and situated on the banks of the Satluj river, the town is thronged by visitors who believe in the medicinal properties of the spring waters. It is believed that the Sulphur enriched water of the springs can cure skin diseases and can also cure rheumatism. In the local language, “Tattapani” literally translates to “hot water”.
The sparkling blue waters of the Rewalsar Lake are a sight to behold. Located at a height of 1,360 metres, this lake is of immense value to Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs. Tibetan Buddhists call this lake Tso Lema (lotus lake), and there is a 12-metre high statue of Guru Rinpoche on the banks of the lake. Islands of floating reed on the Rewalsar Lake are also of great religious importance, as Buddhists believe that the spirit of Guru Rinpoche resides in those reeds.
A town which has been mentioned in the Mahabharata, Karsog is a town which derives its name from two words; ‘Kar’ and ‘Sog’, which mean ‘daily mourning’. Legend has it that there was once a Rakshasa (demon) who lived near the town, and in order to ensure the safety of the town, the demon had to be given one townsman every day as an offering. Once, the Pandavas, during their exile, came to the town. Upon learning of the fate of the townsmen, Bhim destroyed the demon by giving himself as an offering. Thus, there are many temples which have been built in honour of the Pandavas, in the region
8. Parashar Lake:
Parashar Lake is located at a height of nearly 9,000 feet. It is believed that Bhim, one of the Pandava brothers, created this lake. The legend goes that after the Kurukshetra War, the Pandavas were returning with Lord Kamrunag. Upon reaching this place, Lord Kamrunag fell in love with the tranquillity of the surroundings and decided to live there forever. Thus, Bhim rammed his elbow on one of the mountains and created a dent and that is how the lake was created.
The fact that nobody till date has been able to measure the depth of the lake further adds to the mysterious aura of the lake. The place is also famous for in the thirteenth-century three-storied temple located on the banks of the lake. The temple is named after Sage Parashar, who is believed to have meditated on the banks of the lake.
9. Mahu Nag Temple:
The Mahu Nag temple was built in honour of Lord Karna, by the local king, Raja Shyam Sen. The Raja was a devout follower of Lord Karna, and had the temple built in 1664. Lord Karna is the guardian deity of the region, and legend has it that when the villagers are in dire need of help, the deity transforms into a “mahu” (bee) and helps out the villagers.
It is located 34 kilometres away from Karsog.
10. Bhootnath Temple:
One of the most famous temples of Himachal Pradesh, Bhootnath Temple is an ancient temple, whose controlling deity is Lord Shiva. The idol of Nandi, the sacred bull, is also in the temple premises. Figures of elephants adorn the ceiling, cellar and the mandap.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva paid a visit to the ruler of the region, Raja Ajber Sen, in his dream. In the dream, the Lord told the Raja to extract a Shivling that was buried at a place in the forest. Upon finding the Shivling, the Raja built a temple in its honour in 1527 AD. Shivratri is an extremely important festival that is celebrated in the temple.