(Last Updated on : 25/02/2015)
The Vaigai River flows in the southern part of India. The historic city of Madurai
in Tamil Nadu
is situated on the banks of this river. The river flows for 150 miles (240 km) generally in the southeast direction and rarely causes floods. The Vaigai River basin in Tamil Nadu covers an area of 7,000 sqkm. The Vattaparai Falls
are located on this river. In its central reaches the Vaigai flows eastward into the Vaigai reservoir at Narasingapuram.
The river rises in the Varusanadu hills, Periyar plateau of the Western Ghats
. It then flows in the northeast direction through the Kambam Valley. The Kambam Valley lies between the Palni Hills
to the north and the Varusanadu Hills in the south. From the Varusanadu Hills, the river turns in the southeast direction and flows through the Pandya Nadu region. Madurai is the largest city of this region and is situated on the banks of the Vaigai River. The river finally evacuates in to the Palk Strait, a 64-137 km wide channel in Ramanathapuram district
History of Vaigai River
The history of the Vaigai River involves a story that happened during the rule of Pandyan Kings. Meenakshi, the daughter of Pandyan King decided to marry Lord Shiva
during her young age itself. The daughters wish was not accepted by her parents and later they consented to arrange the wedding for Meenakshi. On wedding day, Lord Shiva came to the ceremony without bringing any relatives and family members. The incident disappointed the Pandyan King and there was huge amount of food prepared for the bridegrooms relatives.
Lord Shiva pointed out his friend and told that he will consume all the food. Kundodhara, the friend of Lord Shiva finished all the food and he was feeling very thirsty. All the wells and canals were not sufficient for his thirst and so Lord Shiva asked his friend to put his hand out. At this point of time, the Ganga
began to flow and Kundodhara was filled with happiness. It is believed that the rest of waters began to flow in Madurai through the Vaigai River. After then, the River Vaigai has become closely associated with the Chithirai festival
of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
in Madurai. This famous temple will be crowded with large number of pilgrim visitors and tourists during the festival season. Most of the people believe that Lord Kallazhagar (Vishnu) and the elder brother of Goddess Meenakshi visits the Vaigai River on Chitra Pournami day.
Tributaries of Vaigai River
The major tributaries of the Vaigai River are Suruliyaru, Mullaiyaaru, Varaganadi and Manajalaru and Kridhumaal. The tributaries merge with the Vaigai River at places near the Vaigai Dam. The Vaigai Dam is built across the Vaigai River and is situated in Theni district
. Vaigai gets major feed from the Periyar Dam in Kumuli, Kerala
. Water from the Periyar River
in Kerala is diverted into the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu via a tunnel through the Western Ghats. In summers, the Vaigai River ends up dry very often.
Dam on Vaigai River
The Vaigai Dam
is built across the river near Andipatti, in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu. It provides water for irrigation for the Madurai district and the Dindigul district
as well as drinking water to Madurai and Andipatti. Near the dam, the Government of Tamil Nadu has constructed an Agricultural Research Station for researching the growing of a variety of crops, including rice
, sorghum, black gram, cowpea and cotton