A choultry, or tschultri, is a resting place for visitors where rooms and food are provided by a charitable institution for nominal rates.
Some were guesthouses where accommodation was free of charge. Choultry can also be spelled choultree or choltry, and is also known as a chatra, satram, chatram or dharmasala.
Choultry is a peculiar word of origin in South India and of doubtful etymology; In Malayalam -chaawati, In Telugu and Tamil chaawadi, [tsavadi, chau, Skt. chatur, 'four,' vata, 'road, a place where four roads meet]. In West India the form used is chowry or chowree (Dakhan. chaori). A hall, a shed, or a simple loggia, used by travellers as a resting-place, and also intended for the transaction of public business. In the old Madras Archives there is frequent mention of the "Justices of the Choultry." A building of this kind seems to have formed the early courthouse. It is widely considered to be an Anglo-Indian word which was a corrupted form of the Telugu word Chaawadi.
- In South India, especially in Karnataka a choultry can also denote a Hindu wedding hall.
- According to Seringapatam 1799 terminology, a choultry may be rest house, courthouse, shed, inn or caravanserai, pillared hall or temple colonnade.
Usage example: "Is the order of the Naidu required in order to procure gruel at the choultry?"