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For its namesake district, see Mandi district. The Mandi Planning area also includes some portions of Mandi District. 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. Great Sage Rishi ‘Mandav’ who prayed in this area, and the rocks turned black due to the severity of his penance.
While the city’s name has always been pronounced “” in the local language, the anglicized version “Mandav Nagar” was the official name until it was changed to “Mandi”. This change is now the most widely used name for the city. The present District of Mandi was formed with the merger of two princely states, Mandi State and Suket State, on 15 April 1948, when the State of Himachal Pradesh was established. Princely state of Mandi was founded by Bahu Sen in 1200 AD.
But Ajbar Sen was the one who founded historical city of Mandi in 1526 AD. The Chiefs of Mandi State are said to be the descendants of common ancestors of the Chandervanshi line of rajputs of Sen dynasty of Bengal who claim to be the descendants of Pandavas of Mahabharata times. According to the earlier accounts, Bahu Sen established an independent territory and was recognized as a Rana or local Chief. The Raja Ajber Sen, the nineteenth descendent from Bahu Sen, was considered as an able and benevolent ruler. The predecessor state of Siokot was founded in 1527.
Formerly part of the Kingdom of Suket in the Punjab Hills, the dynasty traditionally goes back to 765 AD. In about 1100, Vijaya Sen had two sons, Sahu Sen who ruled over Suket and Bahu Sen who ruled over Kullu. Mandi District was formed by amalgamation of the erstwhile princely states of Mandi and Suket on the formation of Himachal Pradesh on 15 April 1948. Since then, it is serving as the district headquarters of the Mandi District. For the purpose of development activities, the District has been divided into 10 Blocks. The District has a total population of 9,00,987 persons as per 2001 Census and area of 3,950 km2. The District has six cities including Pandoh as census city.