Ado awaye might have been in the news once or twice but never for the right reasons. In the real sense they have one of the greatest wonders of the earth. In the world, we have 2 lakes each suspended at the top of the respective mountains they’re known with. One of them is present in the Oyo state town of Ado awaye along Iseyin road here in Nigeria.
The landscape is a very beautiful hilly terrain with the Oke Ado being one of the standouts due to its special features. It is said that there are orisa merindinlogun (16 gods) that used to be worshipped in times past. Recently, the numbers have dropped. One of them is Iyalake (the suspended lake). According to local reports the water from the lake never dries up and never increases no matter the season and no matter how much is fetched off it. It is also said to be medicinal as the people use it to cure fertility issues.
At the early parts of the very uneasy to climb mountain, there is the Isage rock a giant boulder that appears to be free-standing without support. According to legend, this rock had never fallen off the steep side of the mountain where it rests. Many people believe the Ishage to have spiritual powers and many worship at the foot of the rock. Whenever it doesn’t rain and rain is needed, the chief priest goes to the rock, covers the “waist” of the rock with a white cloth, then rain falls for 3-4 days straight.
At the Iyake lake it is a taboo to swim or bath in the lake. It is believed that who ever swims in the lake will never be found again! There was a story about a certain white man who came to the mountain and attempted to swim in defiance of the local warnings. He reportedly disappeared into the depths of the lake never to be seen again. I don’t know if this actually happened or not, but it is part of the lore surrounding the Iyake lake. This might or might not be true but some of us on the journey concluded that there must be a source that supplies the lake water and the man might have gone through that path and lost his way.
Also around it is Agbómofúnyàké which literally means “collects child and gives to iyake”. This little hole is located just beside the iyake lake. It is believed that, whenever the hole has water in it, whoever puts his leg into it gets dragged to the bottom of iyake lake.
Beyond the lake was the elephant tree. This was another attraction at the top of the mountain, a little distance from the Iyake lake. The “elephant” tree is a tree that fell and somehow its truck got mangled in such a way that it resembles an elephant trunk at first glance. It is really difficult to describe, but then it was such a beautiful sight.
All through the journey at the top, we came in contact with Esè àwon Àgbà which translates to “the footprint of the elders”. It is a cluster of large “footprints” found all over the mountain. It is believed that the gods once walked over the mountain to protect the locals during the time the locals stayed up the mountain.
The current state of this wonder filled place is nothing to write home about, and it is very underutilized as a resource for the country. With proper renovation and publicity, the Town of Ado awaye will feel the effect of the presence of this wonder in their midst. This is a call to all parastatals in charge of culture and tourism to step up their game and take a look towards this world wonder and make it a tourist destination for both citizens and visitors alike.
Most photos were taken by Ogunbewon Feranmi