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176 Luz Church Road, Mylapore, Chennai

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Luz House

Step back in time:

 

The history of the Luz House begins with Moddaverapu Dera Venkataswami Naidu, the patriarch, who was dubash to Parry & Co (whose HQ was Dare House) in the 19th century. He became enormously wealthy from his business dealings as primary translator for the British and acquired twenty acres in Luz, in which Luz House already existed.

Luz House was, at that time, not so much of a house, but rather the barracks for the Portuguese armed forces from whom Naidu had purchased the property. 

It was here, in 1868, that Venkata Mahipathi Naidu, more famously known as Buchi Babu (the father of South Indian Cricket), was born, and Luz House came into prominence. Luz House was in fact where Buchi Babu worked on his game, between the two mango trees in front of its large portico. In those days cricket in the city was dominated by the whites-only Madras Cricket Club (MCC), and Buchi Babu's interest in the game grew by watching them play at Chepauk . He used to be taken there as a child by his two English nannies, and one can say that the influence of cricket upon Buchi Babu was a direct result. By the age of 20, fuelled by outrage over not being allowed the use of the MCC pavilion, he founded the Madras United Cricket Club (now Madras United Club), which focused on taking the sport to Indians in the city.

Buchi Babu’s three sons, Venkataramanjulu Bhatt (aka Buchi), Baliah and Ramaswamy became great cricketers and carried on the family tradition. With independence and subsequent legislation enacted against vast landholdings, the family was forced to sell its surplus lands.

Luz House itself has always remained within the family. Today, great care has gone into restoring this 250-year-old house. Though it has undergone many changes, it remains intact, standing tall and proud of its heritage. Throughout the renovation, the grounds around the house were excavated and brought back to their original levels, while the house itself has been painstakingly and lovingly restored to its former glory.

Today, the family's intention is to create and make Luz House a destination for people interested in holding events that are unique in theme, and for those who want to ensure that their event creates a lasting impression. In addition, they have recently opened the oldest parts of the house out in the form of a yoga studio and are currently working towards a cafe.