…second World Heritage site in Nigeria
– (Culled from www.osundefender.org)
Like all the monumental and most spectacular natural wonders of the world which has become a point of reference in world art history in many parts of the world, even if the world are discovering some other wonders one should note that some wonders before the medieval period are no longer exist, many of our fun and tourist seeking folks have found their way one time or the other to the existing natural divinely created heritages. What is worthy of note back home here is the way the monuments and the statues at the Osun Grove were painstakingly constructed by the famous late octogenarian Austria Artist- Adunni Olorisa the Late Susan Wenger.
Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove is an organically enveloped cultural landscape associated with Yoruba traditional religion and culture. Osun Grove is a world heritage site with primary rainforest vegetation covering an area of 75 hectares of land with a buffer zone of 47 hectares surrounding it. Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove is located along the banks of Osun River in Osogbo local government area of Osun State, South Western Nigeria. The Grove is situated on the margins of the southern forest of Nigeria on a raised parcel, which are about 350m above sea level. Laro and Timehin Grammar School bound the grove in the north, while in the south is bounded by the entrance of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) which runs parallel to form the western boundary. In the East, Osun State Agric Farm Settlement also bound it. Osun State on which the Grove is founded covers an area of about 14, 875 Sq.Km. The state of the virtuous which houses the grove lies within the tropical forest, and is bounded by Ogun, Kwara, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti state in the South, North, West and East respectively.
In Yoruba cosmology, Osun was said to have metamorphosed into river as a result of a misunderstanding between ‘Oba’ a co-wife of Sango. The river takes its source from Igede Ekiti and flows through Ilesa to Osogbo town and empty itself into Atlantic Ocean. It is believed that the goddess in-habit the Grove, while the river meander within and into the Grove called Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove. The Grove was discovered by an elephant hunter called Olutimehin, who hailed from Ipole Omu in Ijesa land, this confirm the fact that the early Osogbo people were Ijesas from Ipole Omu in Obokun area, where they were faced with the problem of draught, which prevented them from getting adequate supply of water for farming, cooking bathing and all other domestic uses.
Timehin the great hunter in one of his expedition came across the river in the Grove. Having discovered the Grove and the river, he reported back to Larooye the King of Ipole-Omu and suggested that Larooye should establish his kingdom in the Grove. Larooye was the Owaroki (crown King) of Ipole-Omu- a settlement built on hilly area surrounded by atrench dug to protect the community from external aggression. Larooye and his people migrated from Ipoleomu to settle at the plains of river Osun, where the first palace was erected. While they were building and engaging in farming activities which involved clearing and felling of trees, one of the branch fell into the river on the DYE POT of Osun goddess, who was annoyed by this act, a loud voice came from the river shouting ‘LARO, TIMEHIN, KILODE TE FO IKOKO ARO MI” (Why did you broke my dye pot). Immediately, voices from the other spirit came out from the forests which empathized with the Goddess saying ‘OSO IGBO PELE O”.(Spirit of the forest we empathize with you)’ This was the genesis of the circumstance that brought the name ‘Osogbo’ by which the town is known to date.
The oral account went further to say that Oba Larooye Gbadewolu entered into agreement with Osun goddess on behalf of his people that they would respect and appease the Goddess, should the goddess solve their physical and spiritual problems. The goddess (Osun) promised to multiply them if they would build a shrine for her and that a virgin girl from the royal lineage will be bringing sacrifice to her during the celebration of the agreement. This singular act of propitiation is now celebrated world wide as Osun festival. Larooye and Osogbo people accepted the pact and the promises of Osun goddess materialized.