Idanre Hills also known as Oke Idanre is one of the popular tourist attractions in Ondo. It is an ancient city set upon A hill located in the city of Idanre Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. Idanre Hills has become one of the popular tourist attractions in Ondo State. The story of Idanre Hills is proof of ancient civilization in South-West Nigeria. The Hills are located on hundreds of hectares of land surrounded by beautiful vegetation, high hills, ancient settlements etc.
How The City Got Its Name
The city of Idanre is truly a wonder to behold. This is obvious from the landscape, the people and the culture. There are so many wonders surrounding this ancient city. According to the history folklore, a Royal member from Ife once visited Idanre Hills. Upon seeing the gigantic hills, and seeing the community which is known for its magic and black powers. He exclaimed in Yoruba language Idan re (this is magic). That was how the city got its name.
The myths about Idanre hill.
It is the point of departure where your journey on Idanre hills begins. It refers to the significant steps that lead up the hill. It has about 667 steps, including five resting points, which are set at about 100 meters apart from each other. These resting points are set up apparently because of the energy exerted while climbing, which shows that Idanre Hills is not for the faint-hearted. The 3000 feet tall step gives climbers an idea of what to expect in their journey.
The Kings Palace:
The King, who is known as Owa of Idanre, has an ancient palace, which has three entrances, explicitly catering to three different categories of people, the first for the King, the second in the middle for the queen, and the third for others. The palace houses a massively sized, beautiful courtyard with beautifully carved figures. One can only access the castle, which is enclosed within the mountain via the chief’s quarters, and you should become alert as you may never know what novel experience to expect from this stage. The palace was strategically and mainly enclosed inside the mountain for defense and security reasons. Other landmark attractions like the King’s palace include; Aghagha hill, Old court, the Old Primary School, Igbo Ore elementary, primary school built in 1896, and the first customary court built-in 1906.
Agbo ogun’ crown:
Agboogun is one of the most excellent hunters and warriors to emerge from Idanre, and Idanre hills are fraught with so many signs and artifacts pointing to his great exploits. Due to the controversy surrounding the crown stolen from Ile Ife to Idanre, Ile Ife sent a famous mercenary warrior to retrieve the crown from Idanre clandestinely. This hunter almost succeeded but for the remarkable Agboogun who used a magic wand to strike the ground to keep the hunter transfixed until he caught up with him and beheaded him. As a memorial, Idanre kings wear their crown once every year on the very spot where the hunter was beheaded. They are never to see the spot again until the next memorial. Some of the other legacies of Agboogun include;
The unreadable signs
You cannot tour Idanre hills without getting acquainted with the legend of the unreadable signs, which is mysterious and cryptic handwriting on the rock. The story behind the famous Idanre legend is that Agbaogun, who was a great hunter with supernatural abilities, mobilized his sidekicks along with him on a hunting expedition and on their way, inscribed a cryptic inscription in hieroglyphics on the hillside. The mysterious inscription, which is yet to be deciphered, became known as the “unreadable signs.” Wow!
It is a spiritual footprint and one of the core mysteries of the hills. The footprint enlarges or contracts by itself. It fits the foot of anyone who dares to put his foot in no matter the size of their feet. It is also famous as a tool to identify witches or wizards as they were the only ones whose feet couldn’t fit the footprint. Legend has it that the foot-shaped print “Ese Agboogun” was a sign struck on the rock by Agboogun, the great hunter. He was also to be the one who left explicit instructions that people accused of witchcraft should be made to try the print with their feet to prove their innocence or confirm their guilt.
The wonderful mat
This wonderful mat is another of Agboogun’s imprint on the sands of time. Agboogun carved out broad crisscrossed strokes on the earth just a stone throw from where he left the witchcraft detecting tool on the hills. Locals refer to this as the wonderful mat.
Omi Aopara, which may be referred to as Thunder Water, is another breathtaking spectacle in Idanre Hills with symbolic significance, particularly in ancient times. Idanre warriors in ancient times used to rendezvous at the stream of the thunder water before the commencement of any warfare crusade. Warriors were to drink of this water. If thunder rumbled during anyone’s turn, such a person was left out of the war campaign. They were bound to die in battle. I like to think that such an incredible weapon of war does not exist anymore.
The Orosun Hill:
The Orosun hill is a smoking hill noticeable in the distance. It is known to be covered in a cloudy haze 24 hours of the day and as a symbol of the presence of Orosun, a significant fertility deity in Idanre. Like many great individuals of the ancient times, Orosun was said to have disappeared into the wild, last seen in the location of the smoky hills. Her festival is celebrated annually in Idanre and is considered to be a massive deal amongst natives. The spiritual Arun River flows from this smoky hill.
The Arun River is a spiritual river with crystal clear water believed to have natural healing powers for all those with infirmities who bathe in it. Sort of like the pool of Bethesda.
Mountain climbers are always explicitly instructed while coming from the top not to meet those coming up, and tourists who are not natives are also instructed not to talk in certain places forbidden for non-initiates. Tourists are told to put leaves in the mouth in these places, to ensure adherence to this instruction. During the ancient wars, some people were said to have run for cover into the rocks. They are said to be still procreating and living their normal lives inside the rock. If you could place your ears on the rock, you could hear the conversation of those who live inside transacting and pounding yam. If you think this fact is disputable, there is only one way to find out.
The mysteries of Idanre civilization is terrific and as unbelievable as some of these mysteries sound, any visitor to the excellent site will instantly become a believer. One wonders if the outstanding weapons of defense which were in use in Idanre in the past are still potent and the potentials it possesses if developed for the future. There are probably other undiscovered and unexplained mysteries in Idanre Hills, feel free to share your personal experience.
Amazing facts about Idanre hills
-It has 682 steps to reach the peak.
-There are five resting points before the top of the hill.
-They moved downhill in 1928.
Idanre Hills is listed on the tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sitehttps://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5169/.
-The hill is located in Ondo State
25 Kings have ruled this city, the current one is the 26th.
Climbing the Hills is not a journey for the faint-hearted. The journey requires strength, resilience and stamina.