Tano is the name given to several gods. The word Tano has its origins in the Tano River. Tanoboase Sacred Grove is near the village of Tanoboase in the Techiman, Brong Ahafo Region – Ghana. It is believed to be the cradle and the traditional home of the Bono people. The Grove has a shrine, and it is said by the Tanoboase people that powerful Ashanti Gods reside in the sacred grove.
Historically the site is where Ashanti Wars were fought. The grove was a hideout during the slave trade and inter-tribal wars. The Tano sacred grove and shrine is one of many sacred groves in Ghana and West Africa. The rock shrine is inside the sacred grove. Inside the rock shrine is the original brass pan. There are five compartments, the main entrance, durbar ground, hideout, watch tower and stairs.
It is an oasis that maintains biodiversity in culture and religious based knowledge system. Oral tradition is passed down from generation to generation about the founding of the sacred grove. Legend is that the deity Taakora manifested to Afya Ankomah with instructions to follow. The instructions enabled the Bono people to live in the rock caves. The instructions were that the people were not to hunt or farm in the sacred grove. The caves were shelter.
They gave the Bonos security and were used as hideouts for kings. It is also a traditional conservation practice bedded in indigenous religion of the Bono people of Ghana. The sacred grove is believed by the Bono people to be the abode of local gods, and ancestral spirits. It is also the home of supernatural beings. Standing on top of the cliffs gave an aerial view of the nearby surroundings.
I was, therefore, not surprised when I was told by my tour guide, Mr Baffour Amisare Dwomoh, alias Romeo, that the place was used as a watchtower by primordial warriors to view their enemies from afar. It is worthy of mention that prehistoric artefacts such as pieces of broken pots, “oware”, earthenware, mortars, among others, can be found in the caves.
Today, the Tanoboase sacred grove serves as an ecotourist site for the people of Tano, as well as a tourist site for lovers of religious beliefs.