Padgaonkar was born on 10 March 1929 in Vengurla, Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. He received a Master of Arts degree in Marathi and Sanskrit from the University of Bombay. He taught Marathi at Matushree Mithibai College in Mumbai for several years, and then during the 1970–1990 period served as an editor at the US Information Service (USIS), both in Mumbai. He also worked as an assistant editor at the Sadhana (weekly) for some time.
Padgaonkar started writing poems at the age of 14 and has 40 publications to his credit, most published by the publishing house Mouj Prakashan. While his first few books were collections of romantic poetry, he later published books in other genres including poetry for children, poetry reflecting socio-political issues, collection of essays and translations from English and other languages. The US Library of Congress has acquired 31 of his publications. The break from romantic poetry occurred in the collection "Salaam", which includes the poem of the book title that skewers the corrupt societal power structure around him. His books written for children include "Sutti Eke Sutti" and his collection of essays is called "Nimbonichya Zaadamage". Along with Vinda Karandikar and Vasant Bapat, Padgaonkar travelled across Maharashtra in the 1960s and 1970s reciting poetry. He was also a member of a Marathi literary group, “Murgi club”, loosely fashioned after the Algonquin Round Table. In addition to Padgaonkar, it included Vinda Karandikar, Vasant Bapat, Gangadhar Gadgil, Sadanand Rege and Shri Pu Bhagwat. They met every month for several years to eat together, engaging each other in wordplay and literary jokes.
During his employment at the USIS, Padgaonkar started working on translations in his spare time. The first few books he translated were American novels including "Pathfinder" by James Fenimore Cooper ("Watadya"). Later, following Kakasaheb Kalelkar's advice Padgaonkar translated works of Mirabai and published a book "Mira" in 1965. He also translated works of Kabir and Surdas in Marathi along with Shakesphere's plays The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet. These Shakespeare translations have been included in the Shakespeare Memorial at British town of Stratford upon Avon. His translation of Bible: The New Testament was published in 2008.
Along with translating the famous works of other authors, Padgaonkar also wrote forewords to these books wherein he has commented about the original authors, their styles of writing and literature of respective eras. A collection of these forewords is published as "Chintan" by Popular Publications. His book Shodh Kavitecha, an anthology of mostly previously published articles, discusses his own work and its criticism. He wrote about his poems, how they were born, their journeys so far and other author's views on them. Most of the articles in this book have been separately published previously. Another book, "Snehagatha", reminisces about the days he spent with other fellow authors and literary figures.
He has also written lyrics of many Marathi songs. Sung by Arun Date, his songs "Ya Janmawar, Ya Jaganyawar Shatada Prem Karawe", "Bhatukalichya Khelamadhali" and "Shukratara Mand Wara" are well known. In 1983–84, he also penned University of Pune's theme song "Punyamayee De Amha Akshar Vardaan". It was Pu La Deshpande who asked Padgaonkar to write this song in one day. It was then composed by music director Bhaskar Chandavarkar.
Awards and recognition
- Sahitya Academy Award in 1980 for his collection of poems Salam
- The M.P. Literary Conference Award in 1956,
- The Maharashtra State Award in 1953 and 1955.
- Maharashtra Bhushan Award in year 2008.
- "Jeevan Sadhana Gaurav Puraskar" by University of Pune, 2012
- Padma Bhushan in 2013.
- Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Puraskar in 2013 
Collections of poems
- Dharanrutya (1950)धारानृत्य (कवितासंग्रह)
- Sharmishtha (1960)शर्मिष्ठा (कवितासंग्रह)
- Kavyadarshan (1962)काव्यदर्शन (कवितासंग्रह)
- Utsav (1962)उत्सव (कवितासंग्रह)
- Salam (1980)सलाम (कवितासंग्रह)
- Gajhala (1981)गझल (कवितासंग्रह)
- Bhatake Pakshi (1984)भटके पक्षी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Tujhe Gita Ganyasathi (1989)तुझे गीत गाण्यासाठी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Bolagani (1990) बोलगाणी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Nava Diwas (1993) नवा दिवस (कवितासंग्रह)
- Sutti Eke Sutti (1993)सुट्टी एक्के सुट्टी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Jipsi (1994) जिप्सी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Mira (1995) मीरा (कवितासंग्रह) (मीराबाईंच्या भजनांचा अनुवाद)
- Triveni (1995)त्रिवेणी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Udasabodh (1996) उदासबोध (कवितासंग्रह)
- Kabir (1997)कबीर (कवितासंग्रह) (कबीराच्या दोह्यांचा अनुवाद)
- Vatratika(1999) वात्रटिका (कवितासंग्रह)
- Vidushak (1999) विदूषक (कवितासंग्रह)
- Moru (1999) मोरू (कवितासंग्रह)
- Phulpakharu Nile NIle फुलपाखरू निळं निळं
- Suradas (1999) सूरदास (कवितासंग्रह)
- Kavita Manasanchya, Manasasathi (1999) कविता माणसाच्या माणसासाठी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Snehagatha स्नेह्गाथा
- Radha (2000) राधा (कवितासंग्रह)
- Ale Megh Bharoon (2010) आले मेघ भरून (कवितासंग्रह)
- Aphat Rao अफाट राव
- Ase Hote Gandhiji असे होते गांधीजी
- Bible: Nava Karar बायबल : नवा करार
- Chhori छोरी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Bholanath भोलानाथ (कवितासंग्रह)
- Chandomama चांदोमामा (कवितासंग्रह)
- Veda Kokru वेड कोकरू (कवितासंग्रह)
- Surdas सूरदास (कवितासंग्रह)
- Chintan चिंतन
- Anand Rhutu आनंदऋतू (कवितासंग्रह)
- Sur Anandghan सूर आनंदघन (कवितासंग्रह)
- Mukhavte मुखवटे (कवितासंग्रह)
- Kavyadarshan काव्यदर्शन (कवितासंग्रह)
- Trunparne तृणपर्णे (कवितासंग्रह)
- Girki गिरकी (कवितासंग्रह)
- Anandache Dohi आनंदाचे डोही (कवितासंग्रह)
- Julius Caesar ज्युलिअस सीझर (नाटक) 
- Vadal वादळ (नाटक)
- Katharup Mahabharat - Part 1 कथारूप महाभारत खंड १
- Katharup Mahabharat - Part 2 कथारूप महाभारत खंड २
- Romeo and Juliet
- Kshanika क्षणिका
- Nimbonichya zadamage निंबोणीच्या झाडामागे
- Shikshan: Jeevan Rahasya शिक्षण : जीवन रहस्य
- Shodh Kavitecha शोध कवितेचा
- Snehgatha स्नेहगाथा –×
- Sutti Eke Sutti सुट्टी एके सुट्टी
- Vadhdiwasachi Bhet वाढदिवसाची भेट
- Vede Kokru वेडं कोकरू
- Zule Bai Zula झुले बाई झुला
- Aata Khela Nacha आता खेळा नाचा
- several pieces translated to English, in The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense (2007)
- पाडगावकरांनी केला रसिकांना 'सलाम'
- "The South Asian Literary Recording Project". Library of Congress, New Delhi. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
- "Arun Date, Mangesh Padgaonkar to perform at KA". Navhind Times. 24 April 2010. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Loksatta. "माझा विक्षिप्त मित्र". लोकसत्ता लोकरंग. Loksatta Newspaper. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Santosh Shenaai (11 August 2012). Eka Aaswadak Abhyasakache Chintan (in Marathi). Saptahik Sakal.
- Rajiv Kale (9 September 2012). "Padgaonkaranchi Pustak Triveni". Maharashtra Times.
- Kulkarni, Rashmi (10 February 2012). "'Pu La asked me to write song for UoP in one day'". Times of India. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Neeta Kolhatkar (11 January 2010). "Dubai to host world Marathi Sammelan". : Mumbai: DNA. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "Mangesh Padgaonkar selected as president of 2nd Global Marathi Meet". Mumbai: India Tribune. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Veteran Marathi poet and Padma award recipient Mangesh Padgaonkar passes away - See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/veteran-marathi-poet-and-padma-award-recipient-mangesh-padgaonkar-passes-away/#sthash.LXV7xUuC.dpuf
- "Dharmadhikari & Padgaonkar bags Maharashtra Bhushan award". Times of India. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
- "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2013)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014.
2013: 14: Shri Mangesh Padgaonkar
- 'मनुष्यत्व आणि कवित्व यांचा संगम ज्याच्यात, तो खरा कवी!'
- The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense. Ed. Michael Heyman, with Sumanya Satpathy and Anushka Ravishankar. New Delhi: Penguin, 2007.
- Padgaonkar to get Maharashtra Bhushan Award, April 30th, 2008
- Sahitya Academy Awardees – Marathi, 1980