Mandar Hill, also known as Mandar Parvat is a small mountain situated in Banka district under Bhagalpur division of state of Bihar. It is approximately 45 kms south of Bhagalpur city off Bounsi, a place located on the state highway between Bhagalpur and Dumka.
Mandar hill is considered extremely sacred in the Hindu Mythology. It is about 700 feet high. The Mandar Mahatmya, a portion of the Skanda Purana, describes Mandar Hill and records the history of the famous Amrit Manthan (the churning of the ocean). The parwat is said to be used as "Mathni" when Samudra Manthan was done By Sura and Asura. Amrit Manthana or Samudra manthan suggests that the hill was used by the Gods to churn the ocean to procure Amrit. The serpent, Basukinaga offered to serve as the rope and has left behind an impression of the coil on the granite hill. The hill is equally revered by the Jains who believe that their 12th Tirthankara Vasupujya attained nirvana here on the summit of the hill. In the middle of the pond is a temple of lord Vishnu and goddess Laxmi. Many rare sculptures of Lord Shiva, Kamdhenu and Varaah, believed to be of 11-12th century AD, can be found to be scattered around Mandar Hill. An inscription of Gupta King Adityasena has also been discovered on the Mandar Hill. This inscription states that both he and his queen Sri Konda Devi had installed an image of Narahari (Man-lion), an incarnation of Vishnu on the hill. it is also said that the queen excavated a tank as an an act of piety which is known as Papa Harini. It is situated at the foot of the hill and was also known as Manohar Kund.
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great fervour at the Mandar Parvat and people throng at the Mandar hill in huge numbers. People ideally spend 1 to 2 hours at The Mandar hill offering prayers, enjoying the greenery of the place, enjoying boating or getting involved in a short trek of 45 mins uphill to Jain temple atop of The Mandar hill. One can also take bath in the pond and revive oneself. The best time to visit the hill is during the sunset.
One must visit The Mandar Hill as it has some rare artefacts. It has a unique image of Vishnu which is probably the only sculpture in Bihar where Vishnu, in his man-lion incarnation, has not been shown as tearing Hiranyakashipu. The portrait is 34 inches high, made of black stone and is said to belong to the Gupta period. The serene atmosphere of the hill is like a peace retreating centre. One can visit with his/her family and utilise the hill area as a picnic spot. There are no specific timings to visit The Mandar Hill. It is suggested to visit the Mandar Hill around 5 PM in the evening. There is no entry fee.