In the pastoral mountain-rimmed Talpa  valley, all activity centers on the town square, which spreads from the stately steepled baroque cathedral. Inside, the beloved Virgin of Talpa, flanked by Joseph, Mary, and a pair of angels, occupies the place of high honor. The petite figure stands on her altar, dwarfed by her gleaming silk robe, golden crown, and radiant halo.
The faithful, mostly poor folks from all parts of Mexico, stream in continuously—most walking, others hobbling, a few even crawling to the altar on their knees. Music often resounds through the tall sanctuary—either voices, solo or in choir, or instruments, often by mariachis playing mournful, stately melodies.
Back out in the sunshine, sample some of Talpa’s other attractions. Head behind the cathedral to Talpa’s excellent church-funded museum (9 a.m.–3 p.m. daily). Two floors of expertly prepared displays begin with the basics, illustrating—from a strictly Catholic point of view—the miracles and religious significance of the Virgin Mary, continuing with the three “sister” Virgins of Mexico, and description and documentation of a number of latter-day apparitions of the Virgin of Talpa. Upstairs, cases of the Virgin’s gilded vestments and other devotional objects decorate the museum’s airy atrium.