I have spent several nights at Mandi. For longer trips, it is a good night halt and there are many lesser known day treks and other destinations nearby such as Parashar Lake, Kamru Nag, Chindi Karsog, and Rewalsar. However I have never done anything in Mandi itself. Since this time I am doing it slowly, I also got time to roam around Mandi. I generally like the food here but the most interesting thing about the landscape here are the bridges. The entire geography has been crisscrossed by the Beas river and its many tributaries and so multiple bridges have been built at various points all over the city. For those who have not been here, let me tell you that it is a reasonably big city with a long history although you rarely see the name in the national newspapers.
So, that fine evening, I decided to take a long, circular walk across the town, crossing it’s bridges and whatever else came my way. I started from near my hotel, which itself had two bridges, connecting the area to the Mandi bus stand.
After that I walked towards the main market, crossing the iconic clock tower situated in the famous “sunken garden”, which is interestingly located at a lower level than the rest of the town. Apologies for the picture quality, it was shot with the phone.
Finally I reached the famous Victoria suspension bridge built in 1877, probably the oldest one of the lot. It is a heritage bridge that is still functional. Larger commercial vehicles are not allowed but the rest are still using it.
I crossed it and got to the Mandi Jogindernagar road but this location was somewhat outside the city. So, I kept walking towards the city and suddenly saw an ancient temple called Triloknath Temple.
More interestingly, I could see another temple on the other side of the river, and another small bridge connecting to it over another stream. Later or on, after some googling, I found it to be the ancient Panchvaktra Temple located at the confluence of Beas and Suketi, a small tributary stream. Sadly I did not reach that point and have a nearer view. Mandi has several historical as well as newly built temples. Exploring all of them will take several days.
I moved on, slowly reaching another bridge. This seemed a broader and a fairly newer construction with a huge new temple built nearby.
I crossed that one too, and arrived at the Kullu Mandi road. Again, I walked towards the city, crossing the large historical Gurudwara (founded by Guru Govind Singh) and then eventually the bus stand and reached the bridges I mentioned earlier.
It took slightly more than an hour but it finally cleared several confusions in my mind regarding the city and the various roads within and around it. Next time I spend a night here, I will take out more time for the temples.