The origin of Aayi Mandapam is one of the most dramatic historical anecdotes in Pondicherry.
When king Krihnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire was passing by Pondicherry, he saw a brothel so elegant and beautiful that he mistook it like a temple and bowed in front of it. The king embarrassed by the act ordered the house to be demolished. He brought Aayi, the woman who ran the brothel in front of him in chains. She begged for mercy but when her prayers were in vain she asked if she could break down the house herself. In place of the house, she built a water tank, which was named Aayi Kulam.
Later in French Pondicherry when there was an acute water scarcity problem, an architect sent by the French king built a tunnel from the tank to the park in White Town. The French king impressed by the story ordered a monument to be built in Aayi’s name.
WRMM+6MP, White Town, Puducherry, 605001, India
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