Mangalagiri translates to The Auspicious Hill (Mangala = Auspicious, Giri = Hill) in the local language. It was derived from the name Totadri. During Vijayanagara Kingdom, it was also known as Mangala Nilayam.
It is dated to 1520 and mentions the capture of Kondavidu by Timmarasu, general of Krishna Deva Raya, in 1515 from the Gajapati rulers of Kalinga (ancient Odisha). Another stone near the temple of Garudalvar has inscriptions on four sides recording grants in the reign of Sadasiva Raya of Vijayanagara Empire 1538. The lofty gopuram in the temple at the foot of the hill was erected by Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu in 1807–1809, and in terms of sculpture and architecture this temple stands to be an ultimate testament for the ancient vishwakarma sthapathis in planning and sculpting these temples.
Mangalagiri was under the control of Golkonda Nawabs for a long period. It was plundered in 1780 by Hyder Jung but could not be conquered. In 1816, a gang of Pindaris again looted the place. It slowly recovered from these two attacks during the time of Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu who ruled the place from Amaravati. There is a big koneru (tank) in the center of the place which went dry in 1882. As many as 9,840 guns and 44 bullets which might have been related to Pindaris have been found here after the Pindaris looted this place.The picturesque hill was visited by the great Sri Krishna Deva Raya.
In the 1970s there was huge water scarcity in Mangalagiri. Goli Gopala Rao, the then municipal chairman of Mangalagiri, brought water to the town through water pipelines and he was called "Apara Baghiratha" due to his services to the public.
Mangalagiri is located at 16.43°N 80.55°E / 16.43; 80.55. It has an average elevation of 29.08 m (95.4 ft).It is located 26 kilometres (16.2 mi) north east of the district headquarters, Guntur, and 37 kilometres (23 mi) south west of Vijayawada by road. It lies on hilly terrain. It do come under Seismic Zone 3.
The climate in Mangalagiri is tropical. The hottest months are from March–May and the coolest months from December–January. It receives south-west in the months of July–October and north–east monsoons in mid December. The average annual rainfall is 50–60 cm. The summer temperatures varies from 44–46 °C and the winter temperatures from 22–23 °C.
As of 2011 Census of India, the town had a population of 73,613 with 19,137 households. The total population constitute, 36,532 males and 37,081 —a sex ratio of 1015 females per 1000 males. 7,706 children are in the age group of 0–6 years, of which 3,894 are boys and 3,812 are girls —a ratio of 979 per 1000. The average literacy rate stands at 76.16% with 50,197 literates, significantly higher than the state average of 67.41%.
Mangalagiri Municipality is the civic body of the town, which oversees the civic needs like, water supply, sewage, garbage collection etc. It was establishment in the year 1969 and has an extent of 17.53 km2 (6.77 sq mi) with 32 election wards. The composition of the municipality is of two types, one is Elected Wing, headed by Municipal Council and the second is Executive Wing, headed by Municipal commissioner. In 2015, the municipality received Green Leaf Awards 2015 in the category of Best Municipality, which was organized by NGO Sukuki Exnora. Mangalagiri municipality and its out growths of Navuluru and Atmakur are a part of Vijayawada urban agglomeration.
Mangalagiri town is a part of Mangalagiri assembly constituency for Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Alla Rama Krishna Reddy is the present MLA of the constituency representing YSRCP. The assembly segment is in turn a part of Guntur lok sabha constituency, which was won by Galla Jayadev.
The production of handcrafted dyed fabric is the major occupation of the town, which is as old as 500 years. Mangalagiri Sarees and Fabrics was registered as one of the geographical indication from Andhra Pradesh.
Lakshmi Naramisha Temple is the abode of Lord Vishnu, who manifested himself as Thotadri, is present in Mangalagiri. There are three Narasimha Swamy temples. Undavalli caves, located near Mangalagiri, a specimen of Indian rock-cut architecture. The historic caves are located at the top of the hills overlooking the Krishna River, built during the 4th-5th century. Dedicated to Ananta Padmanabha Swamy and Narasimha Swamy, Undavalli Cave Temples are associated with the Vishnukundina kings. Hinkar Thirtha Jain Temple, located in Namburu is the largest Jain temple in the region, visited by many Jains, from different parts of the state.
Mangalagiri is located on NH 5 that connects Kolkata and Chennai. The town has a total road length of 109.30 km (67.92 mi). The Tenali-Mangalagiri road is a part of the core road network of the district, that connects the town with the city of Tenali.
Mangalagiri bus station is owned and operated by Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation. The station is also equipped with a bus depot for operation and maintenance of buses. Mangalagiri railway station situated on the Howrah-Chennai main line, administered under the jurisdiction of Guntur division of South Central Railway zone.
The primary and secondary school education is imparted by government, aided and private schools, under the School Education Department of the state. The medium of instruction followed by different schools are English, Telugu and Urdu.
The town is having many schools, colleges and universities namely state government run Acharya Nagarjuna University, NRI Academy of Medical Sciences, deemed private universities like K L University etc. AIIMS for the state of Andhra Pradesh was sanctioned and is decided to set up in the town.
Mangalagiri International Cricket Stadium is under construction in Mangalagiri at a distance of 2 km from the city.