When the plans of the city were laid out, Lutyens wanted the J-Circle to be unremarkable. All the plots around the circle were supposed to be allotted to princes, mostly from Punjab—Nabha, Jind, Bahawalpur, Malerkotla, and most importantly the little hilly state of Mandi. The city designed by the British was supposed to be a symbol of the magnificence of the Empire, which only had room for the highest and the most aristocratic of classes.
The story of Mandi House is not only the story of the transformation of this ordinary, unremarkable expanse of land into a cultural hub of India; it is also the story of a newly independent nation trying to find its voice, by taking the legacy of its oppressors and turning it into something of its own.
This guided tour is free.