This religious icon is said to have appeared in La Grotte Marial Notre Dame d'Arigbo. Arrive at the smaller town of Dassa-Zoumé, often shortened to Dassa, on the Cotonou to Parakou railway or the main north-south highway. You may not get to see Mary, but the basilica is a sight to behold. Dassa is known as a place of pilgrimage where several shrines represent the Christian influence in Benin.
A pilgrimage is a long journey or search of great moral significance which is important to a person's beliefs and faith. Members of many major religions participate in pilgrimages and there are annual pilgrimages where the believers travel together. This pilgrimage visits Dassa every August for three days and the small agricultural town become a hive of activity. The Pilgrims congregate from all over West Africa to pray at the grotto of the Virgin Mary and it is a sight to behold as these worshippers arrive with a single goal and are not distracted form their mission.
Dassa is situated in the middle of a rocky mass could be quite a journey by foot or vehicle as the area comprises of 42 hills, but the journey is worthwhile for pilgrims and tourists alike. The route to Dassa is scenic, but the natural beauty that surrounds the city and the forests are part of the beautiful journey to escape from the busy towns and traders. There is a vibe in this place that leads to inner reflection and peace.