The district is situated between 31-13-50 and 32-04-30 north latitude and 76-37-20 and 77-23-15 east longitude. It is bounded by Kangra on the north-west, Hamirpur & Bilaspur in the west, Arki tehsil of Solan district in the south, Shimla district in the south-west and Kullu district in the east. The district has 2 main rivers viz. the Beas and the Satluj. The river Beas enters the district from close to Bajaura, at the boundary of Kullu and leaves the district at Sandhol. The Mandi town is also located on the banks of this river. For the greater part of it’s length, it runs between high banks and as it is of never great breadth, the current is swift, especially during the rains. Practically the whole of the district drains into the Beas with only the south-east corner situated on the Satluj watershed.
Main River & Tributaries:
Within the district the principal tributaries of the Beas on the north bank are Uhl, Luni, Rana and Binu and on the south bank are the Hanse, Tirthan, Bakhli, Jiuni, Suketi, Ranodi, Son and Bakar. The greater part of the district is mountanous terrain with the main ranges of maountains running from the north to the south with the system being broken up by innumerable transverse spurs. The most conspicuous is the Jalori range which is crossed by a high road from from Kullu to Shimla by a pass named as Jalori pass. It divides the watersheds of the Satluj and the Beas and on it’s northern slopes is unusually well wooded with deodar and blue pine forests of great value. the highest peak in the range is Shikari Devi (11,060 feet), it’s summit being crowned by a shrine to a local goddess. The range throws off three main spurs which extend throughout the tract known as the Mandi Saraj. To the north of the Beas is the Nargu range, a continuation of the Bir Bhangal, seperating Mandi from Kullu proper and crossed by the Bhubu pass (9,480 feet). The mountains here run upto 13000 feet, the slopes often being very precipitous and the valleys deep.
Almost parallel and running down the centre of the district is the Ghoghar-Ki-Dhar, of which the slopes are fairly gentle. It is not well wooded, but contains large expanses of excellent grazing and the salt quarries of Drang and Guman. The Sikandar Range commences from the trijunction with Suket and Bilaspur and from there runs northward for fifty miles. The range contains some good forests of chil pine. but the greater part of it consists of rich grass slopes. It’s name is attributed to Sikander Lodhi, who, 375 years before the reign of Akbar, is supposed to have crossed it on his way to the conquest of Kangra. The range of altitudes in the district is high, with the highest point being around 13,000 feet on the Kullu border and the lowest point 1,800 feet near Sandhol where the Beas leaves the district. The only area which is similar to the plains is the Balh valley. Several of the valleys are open and are often irrigable from kuhls, or small water channels, and contain some of the most fertile land in the state. Due to the hilly terrain, some of the hills are so precipitous that cultivation in large scale is impossible.
Rain Fall :
Due to sufficient rainfall, unused land is covered with forests or forms rich grazing land. In the hills the forests are extensive and valuable. Deodhar, blue pine, silver fir, spruce, chil and various kinds of oak are plentiful. Below 4,000 feet the forests are not extensive, the only valuable ones consisting of chil, but there is considerable scrub jungle and the wide areas of grass covered slopes support the herds of cattle. As may be expected from the varied altitude, the climate shows large variations in the different parts of the district. It is pretty hot in the lower portions in the summer and the cold is bitter in the hills during the winter. And as such in every season, except the rainy season, there is some place in the season where the climate is inviting.