Las Lajas, Colombia – The wonder-working Virgin

The Virgin Mary in the pilgrimage church in Las Lajas is regarded as miraculous. From the border town Ipiales it is seven kilometres / 4.5 mi east to the small town. There is a spectacular sight from a view point into the deeply carved gorge where Rio Guáitara gurgles before even reaching the village. A 45 m / 150 ft high stone arch bridge spans the river, the small grey and white church leans on it and cuddles up to the ravine wall. Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Las Lajas was finished in 1949 in neo-Gothic style and replaced the chapel from 1803.

According to the legend Holy Mary appeared to a deaf and dumb Indian girl on a day in September 1754. “The mestiza is calling me!” she said to her mother, pointing on a rock where the Virgin became apparent. Henceforth the child was able to hear and speak. The spot where the miracle took part is the altar back wall today, the Madonna was drawn on the rock. The Holy Mary is still wonder-working. At least this is what thousands of votive tablets tell that were glued to the rock face with plaster.

From a small parking lot (2,000 Pesos) in town we walk down to the pilgrimage church along uncounted souvenir shops. An alternative parking lot above (N 00°48’27.5’’ W 77°34’54.7’’) is quiet, free of charge and offers a lot of space for camping. But take care, every year in September (around the 16th) thousands of Ecuadorians and Colombians make a pilgrimage to Las Lajas to ask for fulfilment of their wishes. The pay kiosk is already waiting for the masses.

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