Historical Portuguese monument - Luz Church, chennai

Luz Church built in 1516, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. www.lakshmisharath.com
Luz Church, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India..creative.sulekha.com
Luz Church or Church of Our Lady of Light is a Roman Catholic shrine in the city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. This Portuguese church built in 1516 derives its name from the Portuguese words Nossa Senhora da Luz. Being one of the oldest churches in India, it has close association with the safe landing of the Portuguese  missionaries from Portugal in the 16th century  who wanted to spread Christianity in India. 
Luz Church (1516), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. chennaiplus.net
The city of Chennai (previously known as Madras), has many historical buildings and churches built by the English who first constructed  the trading post here called St. George Fort. Among the European monuments here, the Luz church in Mylapore is a Portuguese legacy, often referred to as Kottukovil (temple amidst forest). Because, the Portuguese Friars upon their safe landing guided by a divine light first built an oratory in the present place which was once a wooded area with the sea in the backdrop. Now the church is surrounded by lots of trees tucked away from the madding crowd and hustle and bustle of city life.

Upon the discovery of  the first sea route to India in 1498 by  Vasco de Gama,  eight Jesuit priests  landed at Calicut, Kerala  from Lisbon with the fleet of Pedro Alvares Cabral on the 9 March 1500 A.D. Unfortunately a few of them were killed, rest moved down to Cochin. After a  few years later, they sailed down South on missionary work.  It is said, that the ship that carried Friars was caught in the rough, stormy sea in the Bay of Bengal off the present city Chennai, and they  started praying to Mother Mary for their safety. Their, as a miracle, prayer was answered. It is said that they saw a divine moving light that  miraculously guided them safely  to  the shore. The Friars as a taken of their gratitude to Mary for their  safe arrival on the land, built this Church of Our Lady of Light.  Yet another legend has it that it was not the Portuguese priests, but it was a group of sailors from Portugal who were rescued by the divine light. 

The church suffered damages during the raid from Golconda forces (1662 - 1673). Between 1780 and 1782, the British East India Company Forces  occupied the Luz Parish Residence  when Haider Ali invaded this place. The famous Santhome Basilica, where Apostle  St.Thomas is believed to have been buried is close to this shrine. The famous Stella Maris College, Chennai is being run by the  Luz church authorities. 

This church  has  beautiful  arches in Gothic style and  Baroque decorations, suggestive of characteristic classical European style of architecture. The foundation stone suggests that this church is one of the oldest monuments in the Indian subcontinent. It is an important land mark in this urban part of the city. It is commonly known as Luz Church by the locals. For the monument freaks, it is a nice place to walk around.