Shri Mangeshi temple is located at Mangeshim in Priol, Ponda taluk, 1 kilometer from Mardol close to Nagueshi, 22 km from Panaji the capital of Goa and 26 km from Margao. This temple is one of the largest, most enchanting, serene and most frequently visited temples in Goa. The temple has recently banned entry of foreigners into the temple citing objectionable dressing and conduct as the reason.
This temple actually had its origins in Kushasthali Cortalim, a village in Saxty (Salcette) which fell to the invading Portuguese in 1543.In the year 1560, the Portuguese started Christian conversions in Salsette taluka, the Saraswats of Vatsa Gotra shifted the Mangesh Linga from the original site at the Kushasthali or Cortalim on the banks of river Aghanashini (Zuari) to its present location at Mangeshi in Priol village of Atrunja Taluka, on May 1, 1560 A.D. (according to Hindu calendar - 1482 sakha) then ruled by the Hindu kings of Sonde of Antruz mahal (Ponda), to prevent certain destruction.
The original site was a very simple structure, and the current structure was only built under Maratha rule, some 150 years after it had been moved. The Peshwas donated the village of Mangeshi to the temple in 1739 on the suggestion of their Sardar, Shri Ramchandra Malhar Sukhtankar, who was a staunch follower of Shri Mangesh. Ironically, just a few years after it was built, this area too fell into Portuguese hand in 1764, but by now, the Portuguese had lost their initial religious zeal and had become quite tolerant of other religions, and so, this structure remained untouched.
The temple And Deities:
The temple is dedicated to Bhagavan Mangueshi, an incarnation of Shiva. He is a kuldevta of many Hindus in Goa specially of Saraswat Brahmins. He is also referred to as Saib (The Bhagavan of Goa) by Hindus. The Mangesh Linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Lord Brahma, from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga to Gomantaka and settled at Kushasthali, the present-day Cortalim, establishing their most sacred and ancient temple of Mangesh on the banks of the river Gomati or Zuari as it is called today.
Shri Mangueshi is the Kuldevta (family deity) of many Konkani Saraswat Bramhins. Bhagavan Mangesh is worshipped here as 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 "Trahi maam Gireesh" but instead out of nervousness she said: "Trahimangeesh". The 400-year-old Shri Mangesh temple dedicated to Shiva stands out with its simple and yet exquisitely elegant structure. The temple is noted for the pillars which are considered to be the most beautiful among the temples in Goa. There is a prominent Nandi Bull which is considered to be the Vahana (Vehicle) of Shiva.
A beautiful seven-storeyed deepstambha (lamp tower), stands at the gates in the temple complex. 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. The central part of the Sabha Griha leads to the Garbha Griha where image of Mangesh is consecrated. The temple has shrines of Goddess Parvati and God Ganesha. The other deities in the temple are Nandikeshvar, Gajana, Bhagavati and the Gramapurusha Deva Sharma of the Kaudanya gotra. Other features to see here are the ancient stone devatas housed in the subsidiary shrines to the rear of the main building are Mulakeshwsar, Virabhadra, Saanteri, Lakshminarayana, Suryanarayan, Garud and Kala Bhairav.
Like most temples in Goa, Mangueshi Temple too has a large number of pujas being performed daily. Every day in the morning Shodshopchar pujas, namely Abhishek, Laghurudra and Maharudra are performed. This is followed by Maha-Aarti at noon and Panchopchar pooja at night. Monday is the weekly festival and on this day idol of the deity is taken out for a precession in Palakhi accompanied by music before the evening Aarti.
The annual festivals include Ramanavami, Akshaya Tritiya, Anant Vritotsava, Navaratri, Dussera, Diwali, Magha Poornima Festival (Jatrotsav) and Mahashivratri. Magha Poornima Festival begins on Magha Shukla Saptami and ends on Magha Poornima.