Vazhi Mandapam/AmbalamOn the way to Thazhakudi village
vazhi ambalam or mandapamThakallai, Kanyakumari district
Vellayambalam is a prominent junction in the city of Thiruvananthapuram and is situated on the Rajapatha (Royal Path) that stretches from Kowdiar to East Fort.Before the widening, the Vellayambalam junction was a tiny place, where four narrow roads met. A Wayside Inn (Vazhiambalam) of the revenue department occupied the south east corner of that junction at the foot of the diamond hill. As the Maharajah often passed through that junction, the inn was kept clean and whitewashed. Because of that white wayside inn (Vella Vazhi Ambalam ) that junction came to be known as ‘ Vellayambalam’ (shortened form of Vella Vazhi Ambalam) and in due course the locality around was also named Vellayambalam.
a few notes about 'vazhiambalam' or 'government run way side inns' of ancient times:-
i am talking about 1700 to 1900 period
those days travel was very difficult due to :-
no roads,no populated area or village on the way,wild animals,most area of travancore was covered by forest
in fact in 1850 an English man was attacked by a tiger few miles from thiruvalla ,near pallom
TRAVANCORE RAJAS WERE KIND ,AND ALWAYS ;I SAY ALWAYS CARED FOR THE RULED.
SO THEY MADE WAY SIDE INNS ON MAIN ROADS (NO ROADS TILL 1800 ,WHEN SOME RESEMBLANCE OF A ROAD WAS MADE BETWEEN THIRU ANANTHA PURAM AND KOTTAYAM ;KNOWN AS M.C. ROAD OR MAIN CENTRAL ROAD ;BUT WITHOUT BRIDGES -WHICH WERE BUILT LATER ON .THE ROAD WAS JUST PAVED WITH STONE (MACCADAMISE) .NO TAR THEN .
TRAVELLING WAS DIFFICULT ON LAND .MOST TRAVELLING TOOK PLACE VIA CANALS AND LAKES
TRAVEL ON LAND WAS, JUST WALKING ALL THE WAY, MOST TIMES .
EVEN IN 1960 I CAN REMEMBER PEOPLE WALKING DOWN THE ROAD FROM KOTTAYAM TO TRIVANDRUM CITY IN 3 DAYS WITH HALTS ON THE WAY [170 KMS OR 105 MILES]
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THAT ERA:-
Marthanda Varma1706–1758) was a king ofTravancore (Trippappur Swaroopam) from 1729 till his death in 1758. Marthanda Varma had to flee the capital for the safety of the northern states such as Kottarakara, Kayamkulam etc. where he lived in difficulty for many years, travelling from one place to another to escape his enemies, Ettuveetil Pillamar .
THE RAJA HAD TO FLEE,AND TRAVELLED BY FOOT TO KAYAMKULAM AND KOTTARAKKARA KINGDOMS .FROM THIRU ANANTHA PURAM WHICH WAS HIS CAPITAL..
SO FROM THE TIME MARTHANDA VARMA REGAINED POWER IN TRAVANCORE BY DEFEATING HIS ENEMIES ;HE DECIDED TO MAKE SUCH WAY SIDE INNS FOR TRAVELERS ON ROAD SIDE
AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSES PEOPLE WERE GIVEN LIGHT FOOD FOR EG:-RICE KANJI AND BUTTER MILK FOR THE THIRSTY AND PLACE TO REST
IT WAS WELL KNOWN THAT VAZHI VELLAM (MEANS VELLAM=WATER, SUPPLIED IN SUCH WAY SIDE INNS ) WERE JUST WATER AND NOT RICE KANJI OR BUTTER MILK AS ORDERED BY THE KING ;BECAUSE OF THE CORRUPTION OF THE INN KEEPER
THE ABOVE PHOTO OF THE ANCIENT WAY SIDE INNS SHOW THAT NO BODY CARES FOR ITS UPKEEP .HOPE EITHER GOVERNMENT OR OTHERS WILL LOOK AFTER ITS UP KEEP FOR THE FUTURE GENERATIONS TO ENJOY
OTHER FAMOUS WAY SIDE INNS NEAR MAVELIKKARA TOWN WERE KNOWN AS OLA KETTIYA(PALM LEAF ROOF ) AMBALAM
AND OODITTA(TILED ROOF) AMBALM