Four years ago, when I first visited Chimayo, it was magical, peaceful. This time there was construction going on (I know that adobe is high maintenance) - in addition, the area has been built up, with the addition of a new building, and an old restaurant closed. It just seems like it's getting more commercial, and I would hate to see Chimayo and the Chapel of the Children lose their sacredness (if there is such a word) The backstory of El Sanctuario is fascinating, worth a read, as well as the history of El Chapel de Ninos. I had the honor to meet Fernando Bimonte the last time I visited in 2010, and he had restored the children's chapel, to what you see today. He told me he wanted it to be a place of happiness and joy for the children, and it truly is. Even if you don't have kids, visit it. The fruits of the spirit are on golden banners suspended from the ceiling, in English walking into the chapel, and in spanish on the way out. The paintings and alterpiece he did, and the whimsical trees flanking the altar with birds would bring a smile to any child's face. Unfortunately, he passed away in November of 2013, I was so looking forward to speaking with this man again. Even if you don't have kids, visit the chapel and see some of Fernando's work, and experience the positive energy in that place. Couple tips - bring your own container for the sacred dirt; If you have a photo of a loved one, there is a large wall you can place it on, and people will pray for them. There are crosses that dot the chain link fence - put their by people with prayer petitions, or answered prayer. Feel free to place one there yourself, usually they are fairly simple - a couple sticks bound together with grass. Make sure to visit the prayer room in the children's chapel as well. The El Potrero trading post next door has the best chili.
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