… There are myths surrounding it, says monarch
By Chinasa Afigbo
Ado Awaye is relatively a bubbling small town surrounded by hills and lush vegetation in Iseyin local government area of Oyo State. It houses one of the only two suspended lakes in the world after the Hanging Lake in Colorado, USA. The Iyake Lake settles at the top of a mountain called Ado Awaye. This lake never dries even in dry seasons, and the water level remains the same in raining seasons. Besides the lake, the mountain has other wonders that make it a fascinating destination and significant cultural heritage.
Recently, Travelden Nigeria organized a trip to Ado Awaye during which the Alado of Ade Awaye, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ademola Olugbile Folakanmi, Makuledoye II spoke to Vanguard. The monarch said the Iyake Lake is natural, while that of America is manmade. He appealed to government to invest in the lake as a cultural and tourism destination. “Although they have developed an agenda for the mountain but we haven’t seen the result yet. The honourable members representing us both at the state and the federal levels have also visited and assessed the site. We are yet to see the outcome.”
The Iyake Lake was discovered around 1500AD by the Dihormy refugees who are now head of the kingmakers for Alado of Ado Awaye chieftaincy. The Oba says there are myths surrounding the Iyake Suspended Lake and Ado Awaye Mountain: “One of the myths is that Iyake Lake was a barren woman who turned into water. It is also believed that when you have spiritual problems and consult the lake it provides solutions.”
According to the tour guide, the lake is bottomless and no one is allowed to swim or go into it. The Ado Awaye Mountain serves as a heritage and center of unity for all and sundry. The people celebrate Oodua festival at the site on a yearly basis.
Aside the Iyake Lake, which happens to be the most popular attraction, there are other tourists attractions that further qualify Ado Awaye as a destination. The first attraction any tourist would see while hiking is the Ishage rock regarded as bringer of rain. It sits on the edge of the mountain and serves as a god worshiped by the locals.
There is also Esè àwon Àgbà (giant footprints of the elders) all over the mountain. The footprints are believed to belong to their ancestors who once lived on the mountain. As you walk further into the mountain you’ll get to the Elephant Tree, a tree that fell many years ago and formed the exact looks of an Elephant. Tourists are allowed to climb on and take pictures of the tree. There is also the “Ese Kan Iku” meaning a path of death, a path which runs far at the top of the mountain. Visitors brave enough to get to the ESe Kan Iku is advised to inscribe their names on the mountain as a reward for their courage.