The Mangalagiri hill hosts three temples dedicated to one God- the Lord Narasimha or the man-lion form of Lord Vishnu.
The Panakala Narasimha Temple is the most important among them. The word Panaka in local language means Jaggery water. The main offering to the deity of this temple is Jaggery water (panaka).
Here, the God Narasimha is represented by a Lion form made out of metal, with a wide open mouth. When the offering of Panaka is made by devotees, the priest fills this mouth with the Panaka offered. Interestingly, about half of the quantity of Jaggery water is swallowed by the idol, and the remaining quantity is thrown out! At the time of pouring the Jaggery water into the mouth, a gargling sound is clearly audible as if the Lord is actually drinking it.
Another interesting thing is that, although much sugar is spread all over the sanctum sanctorum, not even a single ant can be spotted around the sanctum.
Lakshmi Narasimha temple, at the foot of the Mangalagiri hill, is another temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha at Mangalagiri.
Legend says the temple is consecrated by Yudhishtara-the eldest of the Pandavas of Mahabharata.
The 153 feet high eastern Gopura of the temple is noteworthy. Unlike other gopuras of Dravidian style, this one has a much lesser base on the ground. One feels as if the Gopura shoots up from the basement.
The third temple to Narasimha is atop the Mangalagiri hills. Actually, this is not a temple as the word is widely understood. A ghee lamp represents the Lord here. Lighting the ghee lamp here is believed to alleviate all sorrows of the devotee.
Many believe, Mangalagiri is the Thodadri, as narrated in the Bhagavatha Purana. Significance of Thodadri is that it is one of the eight places of ancient India, were Lord Vishnu manifested himself.
The other places are (1) Sri Rangam (2) Sri Mushnam (both in Tamilnadu) (3) Naimisaranya (Uttarpradesh) (4) Pushkar (Rajasthan) (5) Salagramadri (in Nepal) (6)Narayanasram (Badari- Uttarakhand) and (8) Venkatadri (Tirupati in Andhrapradesh)
Mangalagiri is about 12 kilometers from Vijayawada and 20 kilometers from Guntur.