Shri Mangesh temple is located at Mangeshi Village in Priol, Ponda taluk, Goa. It is at a distance of 1 km from Mardol close to Nagueshi, 21 km from Panaji the capital of Goa,and 26 km from Margao.
This temple is one of the largest and most frequently visited temples in Goa. In 2011, the temple along with others in the area instituted a dress code on visitors of the temple.
This temple had its origins in Kushasthali Cortalim, a village in murmugao which fell to the invading Portuguese in 1543. In the year 1560, when the Portuguese started Christian conversions in mormugao taluka, the Saraswats of Kaundinya Gotra and Vatsa Gotra moved the Mangesh Linga from the original site at the Kushasthali or Cortalim on the banks of river Aghanashini (Zuari)(Sancoale) to its present location at Mangeshi in Priol village of Atrunja Taluka, which was then ruled by the Hindu kings of Sonde of Antruz Mahal (Ponda), to be more secure.
Since the time of the shifting, the temple has been rebuilt and renovated twice during the reign of the Marathas and again in the year 1890. The final renovation occurred in the year 1973 when a golden kalasha (holy vessel) was fitted atop the tallest dome of the temple.
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. Just a few years after it was built, this area too fell into Portuguese hands in 1763, 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 Mangesh Linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Brahma, from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga to Gomantaka and settled at mormugao, on the bank of zuari river present day called Sancoale.and established their most sacred temple there.
The 450-year-old Shri Mangesh temple dedicated to Shiva stands out with its simple and yet exquisitely elegant structure. The temple architecture consists of several domes, pilasters and balustrades. There is a prominent Nandi Bull and a beautiful seven-story deepstambha (lamp tower), which stands inside the temple complex. The temple also has a magnificent water tank, which is believed 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 the image of Mangesh is consecrated.
Mangueshi Temple has been embroiled in many controversies in recent years.
In June 2018 two young women, one a medical student from the U.S. and the other a computer student from Mumbai, came forward in separate incidents with personal accounts of molestation by the same priest inside the temple.Both women lodged FIRs in Ponda, Goa.The priest in question, Dhananjay Bhave, was booked on July 20, 2018 under the Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. As of July 2018, the priest is absconding and the cases are ongoing.
In November 2017, a physically-challenged young girl was denied entry into Mangueshi Temple by the management, based on her usage of a wheelchair and claims by the management that “a wheelchair is a vehicle and vehicles aren’t allowed inside the temple”. A police report was lodged by the girl’s family under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016.