On important religious dates in February and October, you can spot many pilgrims hiking throughout the Sierra Madre mountains to pay tribute to the Virgin of Talpa de Allende — in fact, up to 2 million are said to participate every year. And on a recent trip to Mexico, I was able to witness the sight.
The Virgin of Talpa is thought to have healing and curative powers, so people will trek for up to two weeks to ask her for help in curing the illnesses of friends and family. Some go alone, carrying just a stick for hiking and other bare essentials, while others travel in large groups with musical instruments and fanfare. Hikers stop in small towns such as Mascota to set up tents, and in an act of goodwill, many local families will heap tables with food for pilgrims passing by their homes.
All of this culminates at the cathedral in the center of Talpa de Allende, Catedral Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Rosario, where, at certain times of the day, pilgrims will enter on their knees to ask for the Virgin’s help.
Watching the pilgrims cross the metaphorical finish line was one of the most moving sights I have ever seen in my life. If you want to get a glimpse of just how perseverant and faithful humanity can be, make sure to visit Talpa de Allende and its cathedral during the religious occasions — I have no doubt that you will feel as touched as I did.