Category: Nigeria, Osun-Osogbo.

Wonders of Osun

The Erin-Ijesa Waterfall in Osun State. Photo: MOLARA WOOD

BY AKINTAYO ABODUNRIN

Natives call the state the ‘Haven of tourism’ and for good reasons too. Osun State has an incredible number of tourist sites, perhaps more than any other state in Nigeria. Bounded by Ogun, Kwara, Oyo and Ondo States in the South, North, West and East respectively, the state is also renowned for its crafts, particularly batik/adire, tie and dye, weaving, carving, pottery and mat weaving.

With a population comprising farmers, traders, artisans and civil servants, the state has over the years become renowned for its alluring sites which include:

The Osun Osogbo Grove

This 75 hectares of rainforest declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2005 is unarguably the most popular tourist attraction in Osun State. In August of every year, thousands of people converge on the sacred grove which harbours about four hundred species of plants. Apart from the rich flora, the forest also contains a diverse fauna as well as the popular Osun River believed to possess curative powers.

The grove believed to be one of the last remnants of primary high forest in South West Nigeria also houses shrines, sculptures and artworks made by the late Suzanne Wenger and her New Sacred Art Movement of artists in honour of gods in the Yoruba pantheon. For lovers of nature in its most pristine form, a visit to the grove will be very rewarding.

The Ulli and Georgina Beier Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding Inaugurated on January 7, 2009, the UNESCO category II Institute houses archival materials of the German scholar, Ulli Beier and his wife, Georgina, collected from South West Nigeria from the 1950s, Papua New Guinea and other locations. The centre houses about 10,000 books, articles, photographs, albums, films, videos, audio-cassettes, CDs and other cultural items.

Olumirin Waterfalls

Better known to the public as Erin Ijesha Waterfalls, Olumirin is open to tourists throughout the year and was supposedly founded by a female granddaughter of Oduduwa called Akinla in 1140AD. Located on the Ilesa-Akure Road, the water flows among rocks and splashes down with force to the vegetation around the idyllic area. The waterfall holds a special attraction for students who visit on excursion.

Oranmiyan Staff

Ile Ife Oranmiyan, the last child of Oduduwa was a great hunter with physical and mystical powers. A powerful warrior credited with founding the Oyo and Benin Empires, Oranmiyan eventually returned to Ife after his sojourns abroad and was buried at a grove. The 5.27 meters high Oranmiyan staff made of granite with iron studs is in this grove, located along Mopa area of Arubidi in Ile Ife. A new Ooni (King) receives his staff of office from the Oranmiyan grove.

Ibodi Monkey Forest

Called Igbo Edun (Monkey Forest) by natives, the forest houses monkeys that reportedly came to Ibodi with an Oba of the town and a spirit from Ile Ife. A festival called Araomofe is held every September to appease the Aromofe spirit and the monkeys.

Ayinkunugba Waterfall, Oke-Ila

Unlike the Olumirin Waterfalls that tourists climb, people descend Ayinkunugba to view its landscape of mountains, caves and trees. The scenic waterfall located in Oke-Ila was discovered by a hunter who shot an animal called Kunugba but couldn’t find it. The hunter searched everywhere but didn’t see the animal. He discovered the waterfall instead and named it Ayinkunugba (Where an animal Kunugba rolled and died).

Timi Agbale Monument, Ede

One of the kings of Ede, Timi Ajeniju Bamigbaye, born with a clenched fist containing a thunderbolt and other objects in his left fist popularised Sango worship in Ede. This striking monument in memory of Sango attracts people to Ede.

Kiriji War Site

The Kiriji war was fought between Ibadan forces and Ekiti Parapo forces. Peace was finally brokered on September 23, 1886 and to seal the treaty, two giant ‘Peregun’ trees were planted on the site of the war- one on Igbajo land and the other on Ibadan land. The anniversary of the treaty is celebrated every September. Notable features within the site of the treaty include the peace treaty monument on which the details of agreement of the peace treaty is inscribed and the peregun trees which still exists to denote the spot of agreement.

No 41, Ibokun Road, Osogbo

The residence of the late Suzanne Wenger is a monument which has attracted the attention of Nicholas Saunders and Augustine Merzeder-Taylor in a fascinating document entitled ‘Susanne Wenger, Her House and Her Art Collection.’ Containing over a hundred stone, wood and metal artworks, the house under the care of the Adunni Olorisha Trust is being touted to be turned into a museum.

Oke Maria, Otan Ayegbaju

On the second Saturday and Sunday of every February, Catholics go on an annual pilgrimage to Mary’s Mountain, Otan Ayegbaju.

The mountain site purportedly started through God’s vision and the first pilgrimage there was in December 1980.

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Category: Nigeria, Osun-Osogbo
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