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These hills are located in the town of Idanre in Ondo State,

 

The historic Idanre Hills are another marvelous Tourist attractions in the State. Idanre Town, the location of these hills is about 24 kilometres southwest of Akure the state capital. The town is divided into viz, the new settlement which is at the foot of the hills and Oke- Idanre the old settlements on the top of the hills.

There is the hill top sanctuary of Idanre, which consists of about 640 steps. These had necessitated, in addition, the construction of five resting posts along the steps to the top. At the top of the hill, there is an intriguing footprint, which is widely believed to enlarge or contract to accommodate every foot. It is as well believed that anybody whose foot does not exactly fit into the footprint is considered to be a witch or a wizard.

The cultural relics in term of gods, goddesses and traditional arts can still be seen in addition to the old palace built around the 17th century. The panoramic view of the new Idanre never fails to fascinate first time visitors.

Atop the smokey hills surrounding Idanre, a historical town, ten minutes fast drive from Akure, the Ondo State capital, reposes a unique tourist haven which attracts mystery lovers, spiritualists and lovers of adventure from all parts of the world.

 

 

This is so because Oke Idanre (Idanre Hills), a cluster of intimidating and imposing hills houses some wonderful things which confound the senses. Oke Idanre surrounds the town, envelopes it and dominates life in the town. From any angle, one sees the hills and virtually every activity revolves round this collection of hills. In fact, it can safely be said that Idanre is not only under (Abeokuta) but on top of the hills (Ori Okuta).

Apart from that cultural role, Oke Idanre pulls the wealthy and the commoner, basically due to its perceived mystical aura and the giddy excitement lovers of nature get when they surmount the steep, daunting climb to the top, to witness a spectacular view of the new town and adjoining hills in a breath-taking manner.
Saturday Sun was on a visit to Oke-Idanre, a few days back and gives a vivid account of the many wonders that keep on attracting sight-seers year in, year out.

The mystery and the thrills
Seun, the guide, a proud indigene, was quick to explain that the spirit of Iyemero, the mother spirit in the rock, protects every tourist, worshipper and passer-by who ventures to climb the hills to see the pride of Idanre. “We have a lot of pride in our Arun River, a place where people come to pray for blessings from God. The Agboogun Foot Print corner is another tourist attraction where the gods expose many people with evil intentions. So apart from the beauty of Idanre Hills, people come here for spiritual cleansing”, he said.
Nevertheless, there is always an eerie feeling over the perceived presence of some unseen but potent powers. There are even some areas tourists are not allowed to venture. Also the reported presence of some wild animals makes it necessary to move around in groups.

The great steps and Graffiti
It takes 640 steps to climb from the foot of the hills to the peak. In between, there are five rest places for those who hate the strenuous exercise. This is one of the great attractions and visitors are eager to make their presence felt through unique graffiti. For example, one Adeniran Akindele from State House, Abuja proudly wrote his name on the shed of the fourth rest place.
Mighty Guru was there. Dotun and Mak-say from Abeokuta came visiting while Osuola, Ife and Kike left indelible markings. Kolo and Bimbo Soile marked Valentine’s day in a secluded part of the old Town, right on top of the hill.

The European quarters
Expectedly, the exotic sides of Oke Idanre attracted some Europeans who reportedly erected three bungalows as well as a tower on top of the hill. However, this “hilly colonialism” did not last. According to the guide, the foreign visitors had to abandon their sojourn on the hill due to some mysterious happenings and the theft of some of their equipment, including generators.

The old town
Saturday Sun saw a deserted old town on top of the hill.There were abandoned buildings including the palace and courtyard of the Oba, the shrine of the High Chiefs and residential quarters of many inhabitants. Reports have it that the old town only comes alive once a year during the Orosun Festival.
That is when all Idanre citizens and well-wishers throng the hill to appease the gods of the land. .
Pa Josiah Ajayi, in recounting the history of Idanre, said that the town started from the hill tops with the inhabitants taking shelter at the nearby Oke Ilarun (Ilarun Hill) in times of invasion by marauders. “We used to run up the hills in times of war in those days. Oke Ilarun, over there, has some mystical powers. It will open up and swallow our enemies. They then turn to spirits(Ebora). If you listen carefully, you will hear the sound of those spirits crying as they pound yam inside the rock. They are prisoners for life”, he said.

Arun river
The mystery does not end there. There is the Arun River in a serene corner of the hill. The water is so clear, clean and drinkable. One can even see the stones and plants inside it.
People come to pray and fetch the water for spiritual cleansing. Those who venture mid-stream claim that they experience dizziness and the presence of a supernatural being, an eerie feeling which makes the head swell. The experience is definitely not for the lily-livered.

The ancient palace
The coronation rites of a new Oba cannot be complete without a visit to Oke Idanre. Palm fronds and dried tortoise head mark the path the Oba-elect has to take, a path forbidden to the uninitiated. The ancient palace also has an intimidating courtyard where the Oba used to hold court. There is also a section where the heads of slaughtered cows are arranged in a fashion. The indigenes claim that each cow head signifies one year in the life of an Oba and the tenure of the traditional ruler is determined by the number of cow heads.

The Aghagha hill
The significance of this hill which can be seen clearly from Oke Idanre is that it emits smoke throughout the year. The Arun river is said to derive its source from the hot confines of the hill.
The spiritual import of this is not lost on those who come from far and near for spiritual help and many of them have reportedly journeyed far up the hill to pray and fetch water from its source. Seun, the guide, claimed that he was once attacked by a wild beast, a buffalo, while taking a prominent member of a white garment church up Aghagha hill. Undeterred, the church member was said to have warded off the attack and insisted on staying a night on the hill due to his belief that he would receive some powers to overcome his adversaries.

Wonderful rock
This rock, known as Okuta Iyanu, is perched precariously on top of another rock behind some huts once inhabited by some indigenes of the town. History has it that the rock has been so placed for hundreds of years without any mishap, perhaps as an attestation to the wonders of the almighty.

The Agboogun foot print
This rather spooky spectacle is for those with a fearless, inquisitive mind. The Agboogun Foot Print fits any size of foot. The mystery is that those with small feet, flat feet or any other size for that matter get a snug fitting once they measure their feet with the Agboogun Foot Print. It is also believed that those whose feet do not fit the Agboogun Foot Print are those with evil intentions, particularly witches and wizards. According to Pa Ajayi, “only a few persons have been so identified in this manner. Thousands of feet have been measured and deemed fit in this way. The Agboogun Foot print has defied any human understanding. It is the work of the gods. Witches and wizards keep their distance from here”.

Extras
The wonders of Oke-Idanre seem endless. Apart from those mentioned earlier, there are some which could not be captured through photographs. These include the Unreadable letters of the flood (inscriptions on the rock face which could not have been made by human hands). There is also the imprint of a mat, engraved on another rock face. A semblance of the Ark of Noah is also one of the attractions in Oke-Idanre. These continue to manifest as far as the eyes could see.
After a two hour sojourn atop Idanre hill, Saturday Sun left the mysterious wonders and descended the 640 steps to the embrace of civilization of the new town. Seun, the guide, sums everything up thus, “you go up Oke Idanre with a curious mind but you come down, marveling at the greatness and power of the Almighty God!”
Nothing could be more apt.

 

 

 

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