Mandi is a major city and a municipal council in Mandi District in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated 153 kilometres (95 mi) north of state capital, Shimla. Located in the north-west Himalayas at an average altitude of 1,044 metres (3,425 ft), the city of Mandi, experiences pleasant summers and cold winters. Mandi is connected to the Pathankot through National Highway 20 which is almost 220 km(140 mi) long and to Manali and Chandigarh through National Highway 21 which is 323 km(201 mi) long. Mandi is approximately 184.6 km (114.7 mi) from Chandigarh, the nearest major city, and 440.9 km (273.9 mi) from New Delhi, the national capital. According to the 2001 Indian census, Mandi city has a population of 60,387. It is one of the largest city of Himachal Pradesh with a total area of 23 km. City is currently the 2nd largest economy in the state next to Kangra. Mandi is the second-largest by population in state, next to Shimla. Mandi, in the state is having second highest sex ratio of 1013 females per thousand males.
It serves as the headquarters of Mandi District and Zonal Headquarters of central zone including Districts namely Kullu, Bilaspur, and Hamirpur. As a tourist place, Mandi is often referred to as "Varanasi of Hills" or "Choti Kashi" or "Kashi of Himachal". People of Mandi proudly boast that while Benaras (Kashi) has 80 temples, Mandi has 81.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is a premier institute located in the city. This one time capital of the princely state of Mandi is a fast developing city that still retains much of its original charm and character. The city was established in 1527 by Ajbar Sen, as the seat of the Mandi State, a princely state till 1948. Foundation of the city was laid on the establishment of Himachal Pradesh in early 1948. Today, it is widely known for the International Mandi Shivaratri Fair. The city also has the remains of old palaces and notable