Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe and Mexico City by night
Mexico City Travel Blog› entry 9 of 10 › view all entries
I challenge you - ask any Mexican, particularly one from Mex City which Mexican thing he holds closest to his heart and I can bet'cha you'll get one solid answer in return - the blue mantled Virgin. This is by far the most revered image in the country and you'll see it everywhere you go - the souvenir stores, the churches, any public places, it solidifies not only the country's devout Christianity but also with a twist of patriotism. How? Well.... here's the story....
There was a poor Indian named Juan Diego who saw a vision of a beautiful lady in a blue mantle. The lcoal bishp didn't believe him when Diego said that he had seen the Virgin Mary, and asked for evidence. Juan Diego saw the vision a second time (on Dec 12th), and this time he asked the Virgin for proof.
So that's the story: but what about my experience? Well the trip had been a fiasco for the last part of our visit to the Pyramids.
So by the time we reached this temple, it was around 4pm! It was Sunday so it was heavily crowded. Mexico in parts seems so much like India. Very populated, and people go about doing their traditional things irrespective of day, economy or weather. One point about this church is that because along with the Pyramids, it's one of Mexico City's most visited places, you're warned about 4-5 times in the van itself "beware of pickpockets!".
As per the tradition of the day so far, we were dropped outside a store that sells curios to visitors. Total ripoff, none of us could give a f*ck given the high prices but the tour guide insisted we stay there for 30 mins incase we liked something we saw. Hello, they sell ONLY Blue mantled Virgin Mary's - what's there to "like"? You either buy it or not!
Anyway we went to the Church from there - had to go over a walkway over the highway, and reached the base by about 5pm. construction work was going on in the old Basilica, the place was a mess. We did get blessed with holy water though, and went to the main auditorium where a mass was going on. A huge one, looked like one of those fancy UN buildings. And it's in this same auditorium that you can see the original cloak behind a bulletproof glass.
We wrapped up by about 6pm, quickly stopped at the Square of 3 cultures which to me was a waste of time. Or maybe because I was exhausted. They dropped me back to the hotel by 630pm, about 2 hrs after the tour was supposed to end! Gotta love Mexican Standard Time. And I was really all set to go for a nice walk around the neighbourhood - the Zocalo.
The one thing that I admire about the mexican Govt is that they realise that the Zocalo is a very touristy place, and have hence provided so many policemen 24x7.