Arandas, a sleepy town of some 80,000 in the farm-rich Los Altos region of Jalisco, may not figure on the “must see” lists of many visitors to this state.
This community, however, has one claim to fame that puts it in the record books – albeit only unofficially.
The “Reina del Silencio” is the name of Arandas’ huge bell that sits in the atrium across from the Templo de San Jose Obrero, the town’s principal church. Forged in 1969, “La Reina” claims to be the heaviest bell in Latin American and the seventh heaviest in the world.
The bell was created in the Guadalajara workshop of Carlos Arteaga Jimenéz and weighs 14,985 kilograms. Its circumference measures three meters, and it is three meters tall.
The bell was originally designed to be placed in the church’s tower, but opposition to this plan soon arose. Many believed its excessive weight would damage the bell tower, while others criticized the quality of its sound. Some wanted to destroy the bell but it was eventually agreed to place it in the church’s atrium, where it now stands.
Over the years, the bell has become a symbol of much pride for Arandas, although there is still no “official” recognition of its ranking as Latin America’s heaviest bell.