The history of the Dala community and Kano cannot be told without including the significance and importance of the magnificent Dala hill also known as ‘Dutsen Dala’ in Hausa language. The mystery-filled Dala hill majestically stands 534 meters high and covers a land mass of 289,892 metres in the Dala Local Government Area of Kano city, Kano State. The hill has a beautiful outlook that gives tourists an irresistible urge to climb to the top. At the base of the hill, there are potsherds and remains of dyeing pits and graves which are evidences that some early settlers have inhabited the place long ago. These early settlers were craftsmen who took to mining and iron works of different kinds due to excessive iron ore found on the hill.
A legend has it that Dala hill was named after a hunter whose name was Dala and the whole area around the hill was a jungle where he hunted wild animals. After sometime, Dala the hunter decided to settle around the hill and thus founded the Dala community which today has so many inhabitants.
Dala hill is believed to be the first settlement of Kano people and the source of the name ‘Kano’. Even at the end of the 15th century, Kano was originally known as Dala. There was a time it was very difficult climbing the Dala hill (also Dalla hill) but as modernity sets in, a stairway was constructed to the top of the hill and if counted, they are nine hundred and ninety nine (999) steps in total. A very deep and mysterious well called “Rijiyar kare kukan ka” (the well where you will cry out your tears without help) is believed to be quietly and calmly siting at the top of the hill. The people believe that this well is so deep that if a stone is thrown inside, it will take the stone about twenty five minutes to touch the waters. The people never fetch from the well for the fear of falling and drowning.
Another legend put it in place that there once existed a priest and goddess named Barbushe and Tsumburbura. The latter was said to have protected the people around the hill from their enemies and it was Barbushe that served as an intermediary between the people and the goddess. The natives of Dala hold the belief that only them can climb the hill at anytime of the day unlike visitors who can’t climb after 8pm. According to the natives, no visitor can climb the hill after 8pm without repercussions. Recent archaeological findings claimed that there were possibilities that a hilltop shrine which (might) belong to the mythical priest and goddess once existed on the hill. A huge pot which was excavated at the top of the hill furthermore justified this claim while it is believed that many more are still buried beneath.
The Dala hill is indeed the pride of the Dala people and the whole of Kano. Its historical, social and economical importance cannot be overlooked. The hill along with the groundnut pyramids and dyeing pits is a major tourist attraction in Kano city. It is preserved and protected under the Kano History and Culture Bureau.
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Daily Trust & Ambeels
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