Andal or Kothai is the wife of Sri Ranganatha (incarnation of Vishnu
). Once Bhumi Devi (Goddess of the Earth) wished to enjoy the grandeur and beauty of the earth. She manifested as a small girl in the garden of the Srivilliputtur temple
in South India. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple was revered with the deity of Sri Ranganatha.
Perialwar, an ardent devotee of Sri Ranganatha, found the girl in the middle of the tulsi plants. When he lifted up the girl, an invisible message asked him to rear the baby as his own and he did so, calling her ‘Kothai’. When she grew up, Kothai assisted her father in collecting flowers and making garlands, and visiting the temple. Thus she became deeply attached to Ranganatha. As a girl, she felt an urge to wear the garland meant for the idol, before giving it to the temple. She used to do this for some time.
One day the temple priest found a hair on the garland and he declined it. Perialwar was charged for his carelessness. Kothai was also scolded by Perialwar. He made another garland which was not as good or fragrant as the previous one. The same night the true identitiy of Kothai was revealed to Perialwar and the priests. Lord Ranganatha appeared in a dream and insisted that he will wear only those garlands already worn by Kothai. At last she got married and became one with Ranganatha.