Mangeshi temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is distinctive with its white towers, welcoming at the entrance. Small and exquisite, it stands on atop a small hill, surrounded with lush greenery, this temple creates a separate place in the hearts of the onlookers. This place is 22 kms from Panaji and 26 kms from Margao at Priol-Ponda Taluka. This temple is one of the largest, wealthiest and most frequently visited temples in Goa.
The Mangesh Linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Lord Brahma himself, from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga on to Gomantaka and settled at Mathagrama, the present-day Madgoa, establishing their most sacred and ancient temple of Mangesh on the banks of the river Gomati or Zuari as it is called today. Lord Mangesh is worshipped here in the shape of a Shiva linga. According to the legends Lord Shiva had manifested in to a tiger to scare Parvati. Paravati who was paranoid at the sight of the tiger went in search of Lord Shiva. Parvati was supposed to say “Trahiman Gireesh” but instead out of nervousness she said: “Trahimangeesh”
There is a prominent Nandi Bull which is considered to be the Vahana (Vehicle) of Shiva. The temple complex consists of a spacious courtyard surrounded by the temple itself and rooms for weddings and pilgrims. The temple also has a magnificent water tank, which is believe to be the oldest part of the temple. The Sabha Griha is a spacious hall which accommodates over 500. The decor includes the chandeliers of the nineteenth century. There are photos of Lord in different styles. The devotees are said to assemble here twice a day to meditate and seek peace, solace and the blessings of the Lord. This room also facilitates instrumental equipment’s to listen to Hari Katha and kirthana after which the devotees have their first glimpse at the Lord. The central part of the Sabha Griha leads to the Garbha Griha which is kept clear at all times. This allows the devotee to have the darshan of the Lord even from the entrance. The image of Mangesh resides in the garbhgriha of the beautiful temple.
The Shiva Linga is worshiped thrice a day i.e in the morning, afternoon and evening. Shodshopchar pujas, namely Abhishek, Laghurudra and Maharudra are performed every day in the morning followed by Maha-Aarti at noon. Panchopchar pooja followed by Aarti is performed every day at night. Monday is the weekly festival. On this day idol of the Lord is taken out, before the Aarti at night, in a procession in Palakhi (ceremonial chariot) accompanied by music. The annual festivals include – Ramanavami, Akshaya Tritiya, Anant Vritotsava, Dussera, and Diwali. The main annual festival of this Temple falls on the day of “Magh Pournima” in February (it begins on Magha Shukla Saptami and ends of Magha Poornima). The three day zatra of Shri Mangesh takes place in the lavish temple in the Ponda district which draws huge and colorful crowds. Navaratri and Shivaratri are observed grandly with Makharotsava. March sees the festival of Holi or Shigmo.