In the ancient times, when there were no proper roadways or transport facilities other than narrow footpaths through dense jungles. Infested with wild animals and for transport only bullock carts were available, the villagers very seldom opt to leave their villages for Pilgrimages or to visit their friends and relatives who stayed in other areas other than merchants who made a living carrying goods from village to village.
During these days, kings and nobles built temporary resting places along popular routes for the weary travelers to rest or spend the night. This practice continued until the end of British Colonial era in mid 20th century. Most Ambalama buildings which you see today have been built during or after Kandyan kingdom and special effort had been put in building these structures to make them artistic and elegant in most cases.
The Ambalama buildings in Jaffna (called Madam) are quite different to the Ambalam in other areas and maintained a unique model to suit the life in this arid land.
The Madam in this area are a generally a collection of number of structures with specific features.
- The Ambalama itself – The resting place for the people
- Goods store (Cumaitanki) – a platform of a about 3 feet high. This is used to keep the goods carried on the head or shoulders of the traveler and to load them back without a help of another person.
- Stone Pillar (Avurancikal) – A stone circular pillar erected close to the Ambalama. This is about 3-4 feet high and used for the cattle to relieve themselves from a itch called Thinavu by rubbing their bodies against the pillar.
- Tank (keni) – Keni is a pond filled with water for the cattle to quench their thirst.
- Well (Kinaru) – This is a well for the traveller to bath. The well constructed in such a way that people could walk down to reach the water during dry seasons where the water level is low.
The Six Pillar Choultry (Aru Kaal Madam in Tamil) is one such structure on the Manipay Road in Jaffna. Not much historical information is available on this structure. This Madam is built on a 70cm high platform with six pillars holding the roof and open from all sides. The other components of this building lies left to this structure. A deep well and a water tank for the cattle can be seen. Next to the well lies a well used stone pillar for cattle to scratch themselves.
Unfortunately all these structures seems to have been renovated without giving due attention to their antiquity. The Ambalama, well and the Tank have been freshly restored with cement.
To reach the Madam, take the Manipay road from Jaffna Bus Stand. The site lies just by the road 3.2 km from the stand.
- Ambalama Heritage of Sri Lanka
- Ancient Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
- Other Places of Interest Within Close Proximity
Map of Aru Kaal Madam (Six Pillar Choultry -Ambalama)
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.
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Driving Directions to Aru Kaal Madam (Six Pillar Choultry -Ambalama)
Route from Jaffna Town to Aru Kaal Madam (Six Pillar Choultry -Ambalama)
|Via : Manipay road|
Distance : 3.5 km
Travel time : 15 mins
Driving directions : see on google map