True to its name (meaning 'market'), Mandi is a rambunctious bazaar town. Though once a royal city, few tourists stick around, and in summer, Mandi can feel hot and sticky like the Indian plains. However, it's a useful transport junction, a handy launch-point for Rewalsar Lake, and is dotted with (according to official figures) 81 temples. Many of these are ancient Shaivite shrines, which are fun to track down in the bazaars and along the banks of the River Beas.
Mandi's large central square, known as Indira Market, contains an attractive sunken garden with a four-level pagoda-clocktower in the middle. That's surrounded by twin-level shops beneath road level and, to the north, steep, amphitheatrical steps leading up towards the Raj Mahal Palace, now partly used as a hotel.