The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove (also known only as of the Osun Sacred Grove) is a dense forest covering an area of 75 hectares on the outskirts of the city of Osogbo in Osun State along the Osun River.
It is one of the last remnants of primary high forests in south-western Nigeria, which extended to the edges of most Yoruba cities before extensive urbanization eroded its reach.
The Grove, believed to be the home of Osun (the Yoruba goddess of fertility), is dotted with sanctuaries and shrines, sculptures and artworks in her honor.
The Sacred Grove, seen as a symbol of identity for all Yoruba people, is the last in Yoruba culture – a testimonial to the once widespread practice of establishing sacred groves outside settlements.
The Grove contains forty shrines and several sculptures and artworks erected in honor of Osun and other Yoruba deities. It has five main sacred divisions associated with different gods and cults.
There are nine worship points – with designated priests and priestesses – along the length of the Osun River. Its waters signify the relationship among nature, the spirits, and human beings, and reflect water’s significance in Yoruba cosmology as a symbol of life: the river is believed to have healing, protective and fertility powers.
The Grove is also home to over 400 species of plants, of which more than 200 are known for their medicinal uses. Along the two roads leading to the Grove are sacred stones and sculptures which represent the various deities inside the Grove.
The sculptures are made from a variety of materials, including rock, wood, iron, mud, and concrete. There are also wall paintings and decorative roofs made from palm fronds.
The forest canopy supports abundant and diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered white-throated monkey. Some parts of the forest were cleared during the colonial period to make way for agricultural activities, but these are now being re-established.
There are two palaces in the Grove: the first is located in the Osun courtyard (along with the Osun shrine and temple) where Oba Larooye and his people first settled. The temple contains a sacred stone stool which was the symbol of authority of the Oba first used 500 years ago.
The second palace – 600 meters away from the first – was said to have been built by Larooye to avoid the constant flooding which plagued the first palace. Both buildings are constructed of mud walls with tin roofs supported by pillars made of mud and carved wood.
There are also three Ogboni buildings with ceilings soaring high over their entrances and supported on a cluster of slender carved wooden posts.
Osun-Osogbo Grove is a symbol of African heritage and preserves the values of the Osogbo and entire Yoruba people. It is is a thriving representation of culture and a means of sharing traditional religion and indigenous knowledge systems with the people of the African Diaspora.
The sacred groves of Osun, the goddess of fertility and one of the most popular deities in Yorubaland, are located on the outskirts of Osogbo, which is about 230 kilometers from Lagos.
The groves, which are dotted by shrines, sculptures, and artworks, represent a time when people dedicated areas outside their settlements to deities, areas which are regarded as sacred.
The Osun-Osogbo grove itself is located in a dense forest, that is one of the primary high forests in southern Nigeria.
The Osun Grove is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place to connect to your ancestral roots, to purify your soul and align your energies. It is a place of the supernatural!
With the Osun-Osogbo Grove, a part of the Yoruba tradition and history is being preserved. The mona monkeys welcome you on arrival. It is 1000 naira per person to visit, 200 naira to take photos with your smart phone and about 2000 naira to carry a professional camera.
Your fee includes a guide that takes you around the grove. There is a yearly festival in August that attracts visitors and Osun worshipers from everywhere.
The Osun Osogbo Grove also includes an art village with tye and dye, paintings, wood carvings, drums and other arts and craft. It is totally worth a visit.
If you ever visit Osogbo, the Osun state capital, be sure to see this historic attraction. Osun Osogbo Grove is historical, adventurous, fun and educating.
The monkeys will surely make it entertaining as long as you have enough banana for them. This beautiful environment is so clean and portrays lots of traditional sculptures with their history and value.
The Sacred Osun Grove is a well preserved and well reserved world heritage site of more than 500 years that was adopted by UNESCO. It is a natural habitat for friendly creatures like monkeys, etc.