In the heart of Ado Awaiye Iseyin, Òyó state, Nigeria, lies an extraordinary wonder of nature — Ìyáké Lake. Nestled atop a mountain, this mystical body of water stands as one of only two suspended lakes atop a mountain in the world, shrouded in legend and awe.
The mystique surrounding Ìyáké Lake is as deep as its waters are rumoured to be bottomless. Locals whisper tales of an otherworldly realm beneath its surface, a parallel existence governed by a goddess of fertility. This divine figure is said to reside within the lake’s depths and casts an ethereal influence over those who dare to venture near.
It is also rumoured that if one puts their foot in the hole near the lake known as Agbómofúnìyáké (In English it means “Collect child and give to Ìyáké”) when it’s filled with water, the person will be dragged to the bottom. It’s a chilling narrative that adds an air of caution to the enigmatic Ìyáké Lake.
The very name, Ìyáké, carries the weight of a tragic tale. Translated as “woman cry” in Yoruba, this name echoes the sorrowful history that envelops the lake.
According to local lore, a barren woman from Òtà Ogun State sought refuge in Òyó during the ancient Òyó Empire. Loved by many, her inability to conceive became a source of mockery among some locals. Unable to bear the ridicule, the woman, in a moment of despair, took her own life by plunging into the depths of the lake. It is this poignant event that bestowed upon the lake its evocative name, “Ìyáké Lake.”
After this tragic incident, Ìyáké Lake transformed into a symbol of hope and healing. The locals firmly believe that the lake possesses mystical powers capable of curing barrenness. Those who immerse themselves in its waters or partake in rituals involving the lake’s sacred liquid are said to be blessed with fertility.
The lake’s reputation as a source of divine intervention in matters of conception has transcended generations. Women struggling with barrenness flock to Ìyáké Lake, seeking solace and the promise of a miracle. The belief persists that prayers, baths, or even the consumption of water from the lake can break the chains of barrenness.
Ìyáké Lake stands not only as a geological marvel but also as a testament to the intertwining of myth and reality. Its depths hold more than water; they cradle the echoes of a tragic tale and the resilient hope of a community. In the shadow of the suspended lake, the line between folklore and faith blurs, leaving visitors to ponder the enigmatic wonders that nature and human belief can conjure.
Written by – IBRAHIM OLAJUMOKE