'Madam' or 'Ambalam' means a resting house. These were constructed near temples or by the side of highways. The ones by the side of highways gave rest to weary travelers.
There were two 'Madams' in Jaffna which covered the highway and earned the epithet 'Theru-moody' - covering the highhwa in Tamil. One was at Aavarangaal and the other at Point-Pedro. The above picture shows the one at Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka, situated opposite the Sivan Kovil.