When Meenakshi married Lord Siva, a huge wedding feast was prepared, and Gundotharan ate up all the food. But he was still not satiated! The Lord then made Goddess Annapoorani supply Gundotharan with food. Four big pits of cooked rice appeared. Gundotharan ate up all the rice. But he was now thirsty, and although he drank up all the water that was available, he still continued to be thirsty. The Lord then commanded the river Ganges, which He bore in His matted locks, to descend to the earth as a river, to satisfy Gundotharan’s thirst.
The river then asked the Lord a boon. “If anyone bathes in the river, then his sins must disappear. Even if one touches the waters of the river, his sins must vanish,” Ganges said to the Lord. The Lord agreed, whereupon the Ganges gushed forth as the river Vaigai.
Gundotharan cupped his hands and drank the water and was no longer thirsty. Since the Vaigai came from the Lord’s head and since it is but the Ganges itself, Vaigai river is also called Siva Ganga, said Aaroor Sundararaman, in a discourse. It is also called Siva Gnana teertha.
Its descent to the earth was faster than wind, and so the river is also known as Vegavathi. If one bathes in the Ganges, it takes one second for one’s sins to be vanquished. But the moment one steps into the Vaigai, one’s sins disappear.
It is also called Kritamaala, for it runs around the city of Madurai like a garland (mala). It is like a garland for Goddess Meenakshi, who rules Madurai.
The Thiruvilayadal Puranam, in which the story of Vaigai is told, is divided into many sections. If one reads the story of Vaigai, narrated in the Thiruvilayadal Puranam, one’s sins are destroyed.