Pipila is to the village of Guanajuato, what the Statue of Liberty is to the city of New York, SYMBOLIC.
The Pipila Monument and part of the plaza that it sits on, weighs in approximately 800 M/tons and is almost 25mt/80ft tall. It is made of pink cantera stone from the hills of Guanajuato just off the Panoramica road..The Panoramica road goes around the top of Guanajuato. Being made of stone, this Pipila looks like Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four, the guy with strength and endurance because of his stone-like flesh??(not sure if there is any connection) The monument sits just 90 meters above the Jardin de Union. The Jardin being the dead center of the village.
The Pipila Monument/Plaza is on Cerro San Miguel where it meets the Panoramica. You can drive to Pipila, take a bus, a cab, the Funicular or walk to the Pipila Monument. By foot, about 550 steps up from the center of town!! OR, take the "Pipila - ISSSET" bus for 5 pesos, a cab for 25 pesos. Parking next to the monument runs 15 pesos per hour. Or you can take the rail tram (Funicular) from the center of town and the tram will drop you off between Casa Zuniga and the Pipila Monument Plaza. At the time of this writing, a one-way tram ticket runs 15 pesos.
It's said, "...Pipila is holding a torch that stand for liberty. His hand held high is claiming victory. Pipila is standing over three steps, each step represents 100 years of Spanish Rule...". Also Pipila is facing San Miguel de Allende because that's home of Juan Jose,de los Reyes Martinez, Pipila.
Pipila was a miner in the Rayas Mine. (the first mine in Guanajuato) Padre Hidelgo and Pipila came up with the "plan" on Galarza street, just behind the Templo San Roque. Pipila knew about a mining supply store on Galarza street. The store was not too far from the Alhondiga de Granaditas. The Alhondiga at the time was a huge public grain store house where the Spanish solders had taken refuge, anticipating a siege. The insurgents broke into the mining store and took what was needed to burn down the Alhondiga's wooden door. (rope, jug of la brea, iron bar, pick, etc,) Pipila, using a mecapal, carried a slab of limestone sidewalk on his back. This slab was his shield from rocks. With his limestone shield and the help of 20,000 insurgents using slings to throw rocks at the Spanish in the Alhondiga, Pipila was able to reach the main door. Pipila broke the clay jug of "la brea" on the door and set his torch to it. Once the door burned down, the insurgents enter the Alhondiga, defeating the Spanish in the first battle for independence.
Is Pipila the best attraction in Guanajuato? View-wise, nothing comes close!! This part of Cerro de San Miguel is at a curve and sticks out to give more of a view. Plus it's just meters from the dead center of town. Ask one of the monument/plaza guides to give you an over-view from the plaza vantage point. The cost is nothing. They work for tips. Is it the best? I would say it should not be missed because of it's view of the village. There are a lot of "best" in Guanajuato. Each in it's own way.
Here's something that could be of use, use the Pipila monument as a reference point that can help you get your bareing once on the windy streets below.
From the plaza you can see, Templo San Cayetano of the Valenciana Mine, Rayas Mine, a dozen churchs, the Alhondiga de Granaditas, The Diego Rivera home, Teatro Jaurez, the Gustave Eiffel French train station (mercado Hidelgo), the University of Guanajuato and a ton more!!!