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Ado-Awaye Suspended Lake and Oke-Ado Mountains- The Heartbeat of Oke-Ogun

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Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye lake Naijatreks

High in the sky soars the tranquil Iyake Lake, also known as Ado-Awaye Lake, reposed graciously at the peak of Oke-Ado Mountain in Oyo State, southwest Nigeria. These mountains spread from Ado-Awaye town into the surrounding plains, standing imposingly above the verdant rainforests; and they hold numerous natural, cultural and historical attractions which are of great spiritual significance to the Ado-Awaye people.

Ado-Awaye town itself is a small enclave with its own unique but interesting history. In ancient time, Ado and Awaye settlements existed separately. The ancestors of the Adó people were forced to migrate from Awori land to settle at the top of Oke-Ado Mountain because of the Dahomey war. The ancestors of the Ado people found favour in the eyes of the gods of the mountain and were kept safe till the war subsided. When the Ado people later descended the mountain to settle at its foothill, the nearby Àwáyè people also decided to settle with them, and hence the name Adó-Àwáyè by which the town is called till this day.

While the Ado people lived on the mountain, they worshiped the mountain and revered the various unique natural formations they found on the mountain. It was said that barren women among the people at the time were able to give birth due to their devotion to the worship of the mountain. The tranquil Iyake Lake is one of the most revered attractions on the mountain. The ancestors of the Ado people believe that the lake is so powerful that whatever prayer is made with its water will yield supernatural results. It is also said that there are sixteen (16) gods on the Oke-Ado Mountain. These gods are embodied in specific natural landmarks on the mountain. Each of these landmarks constitute tourist attractions on the mountain, lined up along the path which leads up the mountain.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1a Naijatreks

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1c Naijatreks

The first of all the landmarks is the Ìshàgé Rock, which is a large elongate boulder of rock, balanced and standing upright on one of its small edges. The fact that this boulder has not fallen off the steep mountain side on which it rests remains a mystery to the Ado-Awaye people and tourists visiting the mountain. Ishage Rock is regarded as one of the most powerful among the gods on the mountain. It is said that it grants the wishes of people who prays at its foot. It was also said that whenever there is sever drought in the land, the chief priest of the mountain will visit the mountain and wrap a white cloth around the ‘waist’ of Ishage rock; rain will fall heavily upon the land that night and the Ishage Rock will drop off the white cloth.

Another attraction on the mountain is Ìyá-Aláró Lake, which is one of the numerous lakes on the mountain. The lake was named after an old woman in the Ado-Awaye village, who specializes in dying of clothes. It is said that the old woman, known as “Iya Alaro”, worships the lakes and sacrifices to it at specific times during the year. The lake is characterized by a gloomy depth which underscores its association with Iya Alaro and its surface and surrounding is bedecked with a lush overgrowth of colourful vegetation.

Ìyàké Lake is the largest and the most popular attraction on the mountain. Unlike other lakes on the mountain, Iyake is known for its clearness, neatness, size and spiritual significance. It is said to be the main god of fertility of the Mountain. It is however, a taboo to bath or swim in Iyake Lake. It was said that whoever swims in the lake will drown and the person’s body will never be seen again. The villagers believe that beneath the lake exists another world that looks like the earth, and whoever transits into that world by diving into the lake will never be able to return to our own world again. There is a small hole (also filled with water) about two meters away from the edge of Iyake Lake which the people call Agbómofúnyàké. It is said that if anyone dips his feet into the small hole, the person will be sucked through the rock into the bottom of the bigger Iyake Lake.

The Elephant Tree is another fascinating attraction on the Mountain. It is composed of the tangled trunk or root of a fallen tree which dramatically takes the form of the head and trunk of an elephant. The eyes of the elephant are also well represented on the formation. Hikers on the mountain are often tempted to climb the formation and sit on the ‘elephant’s head’ while posing for photos.

Esè kan Aiyé Esè kan Òrun is a wide and deep chasm on the mountain which separates one part of the mountain from the other part which hosts the peak of the mountain. Only brave mountain climbers dare cross this valley as the rock slopes steeply along the valley walls. Only a narrow, very steep and slippery path across the valley, links the two parts of the mountain. At a corner of the valley wall exists a small crevice which the locals refer to as Màje kànkàn Shrine. The floor of the shrine is relatively flat and is covered in soft brown sand. It is said that whenever a new king is crowned in Ado-Awaye village, he must come to the shrine to prostrate and roll on its floor, in obeisance to the gods of the mountain.

Another important lake on the lake is Ìyá Onírú Lake, which although is shallow, never dries up all the year round. The lake is located on the part of the mountain which hosts the peak. On this part of the mountain also lies a dramatic cluster of about a hundred foot-sized depressions set along the rock surface , which the locals refer to as Esè àwon Àgbà which translates as “the footprint of the elders”.

Also, broken pieces of potsherds can be seen littering different forested areas on mountain, which underscores the archeological potentials of the mountain. It indicates a pre-existing human habitation on the mountain.

All these attractions and more, along with the mind-blowing and endless sprawl of forest-coated gently-rolling plains extending outwards from the foot of the Oke-Ado Mountains, constitute an irresistible pull for tourists to Ado-Awaye land.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1b1 Naijatreks – The powerful Ìshàgé Rock

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1e Naijatreks …whenever there is sever drought in the land, the chief priest of the mountain will visit the mountain and wrap a white cloth around the ‘waist’ of Ishage rock; rain will fall heavily upon the land that night and the Ishage Rock will drop off the white cloth.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1g NaijatreksÌyá-Aláró Lake

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1h Naijatreks – The gloomy depths of Ìyá-Aláró Lake

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1i Naijatreks– Another lake on the mountain.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1z7 Naijatreks

– The charming Ìyàké Lake

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1k Naijatreks 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1l Naijatreks

– Clear waters of Ìyàké Lake

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1j NaijatreksAgbómofúnyàké Hole (foreground) and the bigger  Ìyàké Lake at the back ground.

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1m NaijatreksThe Elephant Tree

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1n Naijatreks 


Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1p Naijatreks

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1o Naijatreks

– Tree graffiti on Elephant Tree by previous hikers and visitors to the mountain.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1q Naijatreks
Esè kan Aiyé Esè kan Òrun, which divides the mountain into two parts.

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1r Naijatreks Màje kànkàn Shrine, where a a newly-crowned king in Ado-Awaye land comes to prostrate and roll on its floor, in obeisance to the gods of the mountain.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1s Naijatreks

– The ‘flat’ floor of Màje kànkàn Shrine.

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1t Naijatreks

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1v Naijatreks Esè àwon Àgbà, which translates as “the footprint of the elders”.

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1w Naijatreks – Tour guides placing their feet in Esè àwon Àgbà.

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1u Naijatreks – Broken potsherds on the mountain.

 

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1x NaijatreksÌyá Onírú Lake, which although is shallow, never dries up all the year round.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1z Naijatreks – A broken pot used for presenting ritual sacrifices to the gods of the mountain.

Oke-Ado Mountain Ado Awaye Lake 1z4 Naijatreks – Charming landscape beneath Oke-Ado Mountain.

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This article was written by Folarin Kolawole

Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials.   'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at info@naijatreks.com or naijatreks@gmail.com.

10 comments:

delejiye@yahoo.co.uk' AshdaddyJuly 19, 2014 at 5:11 pmReply

Wow! This is beautiful. Well done Naijatreks. Keep it up.

henryj@yahoo.com' Henry JJJuly 19, 2014 at 5:29 pmReply

I never knew Oyo State is blessed with these cultural things. I am proud to be an indigene of Oyo oooo

shadeo22@yahoo.com' Sade O.August 1, 2014 at 1:14 pmReply

Na wa o…how come I am just hearing about this lake for the first time? Lovely photos btw

Chukwugee@yahoo.com' ChukwugeeAugust 6, 2014 at 9:15 pmReply

Amazing place. There is something special about this country though. Naija 4 life!

Ado-Awaye Suspended Lake… The Heartbeat of Oke-Ogun | 2015 Election CenterFebruary 3, 2015 at 3:33 pmReply

[…] click here to view original web page at http://www.naijatreks.com […]

timiadekola@gmail.com' TimiApril 22, 2015 at 12:21 pmReply

Amazing, I am an indigene of Oyo State, I studied Geography and Regional Planning and I have never heard of this place, it is not even on the official website of Oyo state and this is the only suspended lake in the whole of Africa. Keep up the good work sir, I hope to visit this site more as I love travelling and this site has proven resourceful.

Naijatreks | Upcoming Adventure Hiking Trip from Naijatreks: Oke-Ado Mountain & Igbo-Ora Town… Place Your Booking Now!!!November 6, 2015 at 6:01 pmReply

[…] Oke-Ado Mountain lies about 70km north-west of Ibadan city, Oyo state and 170km north-east of Lagos city, southwestern Nigeria. The mountain, at the foot of which sits the ancient Ado-Awaye town, is composed of sky-high, massive granitic mountains. At the top of the mountain, one is given a full view of the whole range of hills and surrounding landscape stretching as far as the Benin republic border. A mysterious bottomless lake which the locals call “Iyake Suspended Lake”, rests at the top of the mountain and is said to have historical, cultural, spiritual and economic significance to the people of the Ado-Awaye town. History has it that the ancestors of the Ado Awaiye people sought refuge at the top of the mountain during the Dahomey  War that took place in times of old, during which the people discovered the lake. It was at this time that the people also found out that the water from the lake has healing powers as they used it for different medicinal purposes. To access the lake, one will have to climb through 369 steps leading up the mountain. Aside the lake, other attractions on the mountain includes the mysterious Ishagi Rock Formation, Elephant tree and the "Elder’s Footprints". The Ishagi Formation is a big boulder of rock which is mysteriously supported underneath by a very small boulder, which is believed to have spiritual influence on anyone who prays at its foot.  The Elder’s Footprints is a set of small foot-sized depressions on the rock surface believed to have been supernaturally created by the ancestors of the people. […]

ibifirekiss@gmail.com' Ibi SofekunMarch 25, 2017 at 9:15 amReply

I live in Abeokuta, this is a must visit very soon.

moyoayodele@outlook.com' Moyo AyodeleMarch 26, 2017 at 2:27 pmReply

Great work Mr Folarin. I am most captivated by the “ese awon agba” which you as a geologist will refer to as a product of differential weathering.
Keep buzzing

robin.campbell52@gmail.com' RobinOctober 5, 2017 at 6:56 pmReply

Fabulous!! HOw long does it take to climb to the Lake?

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