The earliest mention of the town appears on the inscription at the Triloknath temple, in old Mandi. The Saka year is 1442 corresponding to 1520 A.D.The Tibetans call Mandi as Zohar and there is a story behind it. The great Buddhist teacher, Padma Sarnbhava (A.D. 750-800) went from Mandi or Zohar at the request of the Tibetan King Sronalde Btzan to preach the doctrine of Tantric Buddhism or Lamaism to Tibet.
Pandit Hira Nand Shastri, a noted historian, has observed that in his Lamaist representations Padma Sambhava appears in the ancient Mandi garb and the special head-dress worn by him- is still called Zohorma.
It is said that many religious scriptures were taken into Tibet from Zohar (Mandi); and during the reign of Langdarma (A.D. 900), the Tibetan King who prosecuted the Buddhists, many books are said to have been brought back to Zohar (Mandi). The Tibetans believe somewhere in Mandi or Zohar hundreds of the scriptures are lying concealed. Some think they might have been taken to Kulu.