AFRICA CULTURE HISTORY THE MAGAZINE Travel

THE MAGNIFICENT HILL OF MYSTERY, BEAUTY, HISTORY AND MAJESTY IN AFRICA

This hill is one of the most remarkable and beautiful natural landscapes in Nigeria. More than three innocent maidens joined their forces and made it stand out from the gale and view of the world, which is a mystery, beauty, history, and majesty. It is located in Idanre Town, about 24 kilometres southwest of Akure, Ondo State.

As a natural and cultural landscape, Idanre hill stands out well among other places that have been listed in UNESCO World Heritage sites. The hill surrounds the town, envelopes it and dominates life in the city. From any angle, one sees the mountain and virtually every activity that revolves around this collection of hills. Certainly, Idanre, despite its orphan status as it is today, is one of the most magnificent tourist centres in the world. The discovery of this hill is said to have occurred due to an incident that happened a long time ago. The descendants of Oduduwa, the ancestor of the Yoruba people, stole Ade Omo Oduduwa, the magical crown also called “Ade-ide” the golden crown and fled to Ile Ife, his ancestral home with some follows.

The crown was designed for Oduduwa’s son and this treason incurred the wrath of his kinsperson. Later they were chased deep into the jungle and forced to lead a nomadic lifestyle for many years until they came upon a range of hills. In a surprise, they exclaimed “INDANRE OO!!”(a Yoruba word for “this is wonderful”). The hill, however, became their refuge, strategic protections and guided them against invaders. Then they settled and lived for over 800 years in which is now known as Old Oke Idanre, a major attraction at Idanre Hill Tourist Centre. This so-called Idanre area consists of old and dilapidated mud buildings roofed in rust-brown iron sheets, set on well laid out streets. They migrated and started living down the hill in the year 1923 and restyled at the present foothill location of Idanre Town.

It has been noted that every street in the new Idanre Town has a replica at the Old Oke Idanre Town and all family is allowed to be the owner of their houses at the enclave. The resident of the town is known to be very proud of their heritage in culture and history, and these have never ceased to draw tourists of all ramifications to the hilltop site. Through this, the town has been able to pull the wealthy and the commoners. Basically, due to perceived mystical aura and the giddy excitement lovers of native get when they surmount the step, daunting climb to the top of 682 steps to witness a spectacular view of the new town, and adjoining hills in a breathtaking manner, their climbing down the Oke Idanre is also not fun. Tired limbs and weary body are welcomed by a nerve-calming breeze.

At the Idanre hill, there are certain rituals and distinct rites that are performed which make the hill significantly different from other hills in the world. For instance, the Orosun festival which is held every May is a week-long activity during which every family in the enclave, including the traditional Oba, ascends the hill and lives in their family houses at the old Oke Idanre. Native of the town travel down from all part of the world to celebrate this festival full of different cultural interesting activities, including cultural dances, bat hunting expeditions to the largest and most dreaded and revered caves on the hill – Owa and Ojumo caves, as well as different spiritual cleansing of the ancient town and sacrificial offerings to Prosun, the god of the highest peak on the hills (Orosun Peak).

Nevertheless, the tourist centre is not in good shape at the moment, as the hilltop tourists chalets are dilapidated and facilities such as paved paths and signs leading to the attractions on the hills, detailed maps, hotels, wildlife reserve, etc. are lacking at the tourist centre. The establishment of a world-class golf resort was started at Alade-Idanre, a location just about 2kilometers from the hills and from which views of the hilly landscape would have been a great advantage.

Political instability has affected the success of the hill project, If the government can do something reasonable about this wonderful and promising haven of natural wonder, the economy of the state and the country at large will receive a significant boost, and the external image of the country will be made better.

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