Centuries ago, there were only footpaths that stretched for miles. Travellers set out on long journeys to other parts of the island, laden with provisions or food and other items to sustain them yet, there were no hotels or inns of any sort and unable to have a form of shelter meant danger from wild animals and no place to lay their heads to rest at night. This brought about the birth of the Ambalama, constructed all those years ago for pilgrims to rest, in-between their journey.
The Ambalama (Sinhala: අම්බලම) is a simple structure that was designed to provide shelter for passing travellers. There were no charges for using the premises of the Ambalama as it was made, as an offering of goodwill (Pinkama). Ambalamas were also ideal points where it is said, many a traveller would recite old Sinhala poetry for the others sharing the nights rest abode to…listen to. This structure was of indigenous architecture and made to withstand weather conditions. The Appallagoda Ambalama, Giruwa Ambalama, Kadugannawa Ambalama, Panavitiya Ambalama and the Pita Kotte Gal Ambalama are the most famous in Sri Lanka.