Chimayó and Cundiyó
Built between 1811 and 1814, the Santuario de Chimayó is beloved by people of all faiths. During Easter week, tens of thousands of pilgrims come from all over the United States and Mexico in search of healing and miracles. Notice the original reredosor paintings of saints on wooden slabs propped against the walls. These were done by some of the most famous santeros ("painters of saints") in New Mexico. Be sure to get a bit of sacred dirt from the posito ("little well") in a room to the left of the main altar. It is said to bring miracles.
Also be sure to visit the little shops in the vicinity of the Santuario. The food at Leona's is wonderful, and there are some delightful little galleries.
There is also another chapel, the Santo Niño Chapel. In 1857, Severiano Medina traveled to the shrine of the Santo Niño de Atocha in Mexico and brought back a statue to Chimayó. He built a chapel in honor of the Santo Niño near the Santuario. It remained a private chapel until recently, when the Catholic Church took it over and renovated it. Most of the art inside is new but exquisitely crafted. The Santo Niño is said to go about at night performing miracles and wearing out his little shoes, so visitors bring him baby shoes.
A little further on, you will come to the Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante famous for its lovely, old building and Northern New Mexico food. Chimayó was founded when the Spanish returned after the Pueblo Revolt, bringing many new colonists from Mexico. Originally the settlement centered around a fortified plaza, the Plaza del Cerro. The Spanish dug acequias (irrigation canals), built adobe homes, and raised crops and farm animals. They also began a centuries-old tradition of weaving, still maintained in Chimayo by some of the original families. Visit some of the weaving shops to see them in action using the huge old looms.
State Road 98 ends at the junction with SR 76. You may wish to turn left and visit more of the artists’ galleries and studios in Chimayó, but to continue on the High Road, turn right and begin the climb into the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the little villages that house the artists of the High Road.
First is Cundiyó, a collection of narrow streets that wind up to an idyllic high meadow and river. Look for the sign SR 503 to Cundiyó on your right. A lovely drive takes you into the village; turn around to go back to SR 76 which will take you higher still into Truchas.
Resources for Chimayó and Cundiyó:
- Chimayó—official site, full of information
- Chimayó, New Mexico—Wikipedia article
- “Introduction to Chimayo” from Frommer's.
- “Chimayo, New Mexico”—video from TravelChannelTV.
- El Santuario de Chimayó—official website
- El Santuario de Chimayó—article from Chimayó website; see also article below it on the Santo Niño Chapel
- “Chimayo Journal: A Pastor Begs to Differ With Flock on Miracles” by Erik Eckholm, New York Times (2008)
- Pilgrimage to Chimayo, New Mexico—video by Julien McRoberts