Vaigai River

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Vaigai River
Vaigai Dam.jpg
SVG Map River Vaigai EN.svg
Map of Vaigai river
Physical characteristics
SourceVarusanadu Hills
 • locationTamil Nadu, India
 • location
Palk Bay, India
 • elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length258 km (160 mi)
 • average36 m3/s (1,300 cu ft/s)
 • locationPeranai[1]
 • average28.8 m3/s (1,020 cu ft/s)
Vaigai River Course
Varusanadu (Megamalai)
Govinda Nagaram Check Dam
Ambasamudram Check Dam
Pallapatti Canal
Mullaperiyar, Kottaipatti (Theni)
Vaigai Dam
Periyar Main Canal
Varaha River
Manjalar River
Anai patti Check Dam
Sholavandan Canal
Sholavandan Check Dam
Melakkal Check Dam
Kiruthumaal River
Vandiyur lake canal
Viraganoor dam
Thirupuvanam Check Dam
Ladanendhal Check Dam
Upparu River
Manamadurai Check Dam
Karisalkulam Check Dam
Keezha Perungarai Check Dam
Paramakudi Check Dam
Urapuli Check Dam
Mandhivalasai Check Dam
Arasadi vandal Check Dam
Moovalur Lake
Thoruvalur Check Dam
Ramanathapuram Great Lake
Bay of Bengal

The Vaigai is a river in the Tamil Nadu state of southern India; it passes through the towns of Theni, Dindigul and Madurai.[2] It originates in Varusanadu Hills, the Periyar Plateau of the Western Ghats range, and flows northeast through the Kambam Valley, which lies between the Palani Hills to the north and the Varushanad Hills to the south. The Vattaparai Falls are located on this river. As it rounds the eastern corner of the Varushanad Hills, the river turns southeast, running through the region of Pandya Nadu. Madurai, the largest city in the Pandya Nadu region and its ancient capital, lies on the Vaigai. The river empties into the Palk Bay near Uchipuli, close to Pamban Bridge in Ramanathapuram District.

The Vaigai is 258 kilometres (160 mi) long, with a drainage basin 7,031 square kilometres (2,715 sq mi) large.[3]

Vaigai Mention[edit]

Sangam literature (circa 300 B.C.[citation needed]) has paid many tributes to Vaigai, extolling it as 'the river that brings water when one touches it', viz the etymology Vai (place your) + gai (hands) = place one's hands.[citation needed] The following story is told about the birth of the river Vaigai etc. Meenakshi, the daughter of a Pandyan king, was an incarnation of Parvati. From a very young age, she made up her mind to marry Lord Shiva and none else. Her family was initially against this but eventually consented to her wish and arranged the wedding. Sundareswara (Siva), being an ascetic, came to the wedding without any family or relatives accompanying him. Disappointed at this, the Pandyan king angrily showed Siva the huge amount of food prepared for the bridegroom's relatives. Siva pointed to a friend he had brought with him saying 'He will consume all the food that you've made'. This friend was a Rakshasa named Kundodhara. After Kundodhara finished all the food that was prepared, He became very thirsty and started asking for water. All the wells and canals in Madurai were not sufficient to quench his thirst. Then, Siva asked Kundodhara to put his hand out and opened a small part of his hair lock and Ganga began to flow into his hand. After quenching his thirst, The rest of the waters began flowing in Madurai as the Vaigai river. Vaigai means 'put your hand out' in Tamil.

It was formerly called Kritamala, a sacred river where Vishnu appeared as Matsya before Satyavrata Manu who had spent his time offering penance there.[4] The deity presiding over this temple visited Lakshmi-Narayana at their wedding.[5]

Vaigai River in Madurai, Tamil Nadu


The main tributaries of the river Vaigai are, the river Suruliyaru, the river Mullaiyaaru, the river Varaganadi, the river Manjalaru, river kottagudi and river Kridhumaal, Upparu river. Vaigai Dam is the major dam in this river which is present in Theni district

Vaigai gets major feed from the Periyar Dam in Kumili, 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. The water never reaches Madurai, let alone flowing into places past Madurai.[citation needed]


Vaigai River Illumination

The Vaigai Dam is built across the river in Periyakulam taluk, 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.[6] 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, blackgram, cowpea and cotton.[7]

The Periyar Dam was built in 1895 by John Pennycuick, who implemented a plan proposed over a century earlier by Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai of Ramnad. The dam was built by the British Army Engineering corps for the Travancore kingdom. The first dam was washed away by floods, and a second masonry dam was constructed in 1895.[citation needed]

"Greater than the mother bearing child/Greater than the child that is born/Every breath is Periyar/Every word is Periyar/In every place, in all the world/As far as Periyar water flows/Your name will stand-Pennycuick-your name/Though written on water, will always stand".[citation needed]

That is how Anthony Muthu Pillai (1863–1929) had paid tributes in Tamil to John Pennycuick, the engineer who had taken up the "audacious and unprecedented feat" for transferring some water from the Periyar river in Travancore State to the Vaigai basin in Madras Presidency.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gauging Station – Data Summary". ORNL. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  2. ^ Madurai, Temple Town of South India. Cultural capital of Tamilnadu
  3. ^ Garg, Santosh Kumar (1999). International and interstate river water disputes. Laxmi Publications. p. 10. ISBN 978-81-7008-068-8. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  4. ^ The Agni-Purāṇa. Natesa, ... Gangadharan (Reprint ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. 1998–2007. ISBN 81-208-0359-0. OCLC 471042225.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Skandamahāpurāṇam of Shrimanmaharshi Krishnadwaipayan Vedvyasa. David E. Pingree Collection. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office. 2003. ISBN 81-7080-097-8. OCLC 274273850.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ "Water released from Vaigai dam for irrigation". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 25 November 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2007.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ "Welcome to Agricultural Research Station, Vaigai Dam". Tamil Nadu Government. Retrieved 9 August 2007.

Coordinates: 9°21′N 79°00′E / 9.350°N 79.000°E / 9.350; 79.000