Since my last visit to Santuario de Chimayo more than 20 years ago, they have added a large Dar park, outdoor displays and covered walkways to make it more tourist friendly. It is on the pilgrimage trail and gets a lot of visitors. However, it is ultimately, still a community church with no pretensions. It is beautiful in its simplicity. No entrance fee. No queue. There is a sign requesting that visitors respect those there for worship and banning photography in the chapel. We sat and looked at the colourful, naive paintings at the altar. We visited the room with the holy dirt where a woman with a cane was on her knees scooping some into a glass bottle to take home. It is meant to cure ailments, evidenced by the many crutches left behind by visitors whose faith carried them outside unaided. Outside, we watched a procession of beautiful girls in gowns with sashes naming them as princesses of the upcoming fiesta. A priest in brown robes moved around greeting visitors with a smile.
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