'Vazhiyambalams,' way-side rest houses of Kerala are slowly crumbling!!

''Vazhiyambalams''  are more or less like way-side rest places native to Kerala  built for the use of travelers from one place to other places. Once Kerala's heritage, now they are facing slow death because of  change of social scenarios. Now they  do not serve the purpose for which they were built.  Vazhiyambalam  served the people of bygone era when the mode of transportation was  by means of bullock carts or on foot. The way-side rest places with shelter gave them the needed break - a sort of rest from arduous and monotonous journey under the sun and rains.  They were  panacea for the pedestrians  coming from far off places.

Like chatrams of  Maratha kings of Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu  and Kal Madams of Nagarkovil, TN  built by Waynad rulers of Kerala,  their upkeep and maintenance is far beyond criticism. It is a total neglect on the part of authorities who have a responsibility to preserve such old  structures that represent the ethos and culture of the land. Dereliction of duty in matters related to our past history and heritage structure and their periodic upkeep is a matter of shame. We are neglecting our own past history and fail to deliver it to the next generation.

Vaikom, Kottayam: Vazhiyambalams, the resting homes  constructed by the royalty of Kerala centuries ago for the travelers have almost become things of the past era and the present structures are    remnants of the state’s rich heritage;  many of them are in the district of Kottayam.   Mention may be made of Thalayolaparambu, and adjacent to the Vadayar Elamkavu Devi Temple, Thuruvelikkunu Dhruvapuram Mahadeva Temple, and the Vechoor Sasthamkulam Devi temple.   Most of them are in ruins especially the ones at Thalayolaparambu and Thuruvelikkunnu.  Because of various of climatic changes, particularly during the SW monsoon that  brings in lots of rains they face structural damages. In the past decades during the monsoon season  a couple of major floods did impact them. The ones at Vadayar and Vechoor are fairly in good shape. Thanks to the efforts made by the local residents who . preserved and protected them 

 Vazhiyambalam, resting place, kerala onmanorama.com

Vazhiyambalam, resting place, archaeology.kerala.gov.in

Vazhiyambalam, resting place, kerala teitter.com 

The resting place  at Thalayolaparambu is on plot of 14 cents of land donated by  the Kaniyampadikkal family.and the income from the land helps the family  meet the financial obligations to run the rest house. The  structure is slowly facing degradation  due to prolonged neglect complicated by the absence of the owner who resides elsewhere in other state.  

Vazhiambalam at  Thalayolaparambu  across  Sree Karthyayani Devi temple used to offer solace to the travelers by offering them cool water and cool shadow after their rough journey. There is a provision for accompanying  animals in the form of a shed near by. An interesting fact is in  those days stone buckets were used to store or fetch water.

Some of these rest-houses have become hangout for useless people and drunks. Saving these old rest houses from total ruin  for the posterity is the responsibility of the government as these old structures  are an integral part of Kerala's long cherished culture and tradition.