In order to create awareness for conservation of nature and to provide opportunities for recreation, a number of parks and botanical gardens as shown below have been created and maintained. Some of these parks like Thankrang Park, LadyHydari Park, Lum-Nehru Park, IalongPark and Thadlaskein Park are major tourist attractions and revenue earners of the State.
DETAILS OF PARKS & BOTANICAL GARDENS
|1||East Khasi Hills & Ri-Bhoi Territorial Division, Shillong||Botanical Garden –Shillong, Polo Park -Shillong, Fire Brigade park- Shillong, Rose Garden- Shillong, Nongpoh Park, State Central Library Compound Park-Shillong|
|2||Jaintia Hills Territorial Division. Jowai||Children Park-Forest Colony- Jowai, Sajar Nangli Park- Thadlaskein, DC Park-Jowai, Mini Arboretum Khimusniang|
|3||West & South West Garo Hills Territorial Division, Tura||Araimile (Tura) Botanical Garden (27 bigha)|
|4||East Khasi Hills Social Forestry Division, Shillong||Wards Lake Shillong, Rose Garden- Shillong|
|5||South West & West Khasi Hills Territorial and Social Forestry Division, Nongstoin||New Nongstoin (1.20 ha.), Mawsawa (0.70 ha.), Laitlawsang – On GAD land Mawkyrwat (3.50 ha.) & Nongkyna (1.40 ha.)|
|6||North Khasi Hills Social Forestry Division, Ri Bhoi||Bhoi Rymbong, Umroi, Kyrdem and Nongpoh|
|7||Jaintia Hills Social Forestry Division, Jowai||Children Park- Panaliar – Jowai (314 sqm), Flower Garden- Momoon-Jowai (300 sqm), Children Park- Ladthalaboh-Jowai (300 sqm), Children Park- Mynsngat (320 sqm), Children Park-Namdong (400 sqm), Children Park-Lamin (213.50 sqm), Children Park-Nongbareh (293 sqm), Children Park- Nongtalang (400 sqm), Children Park-Trangbalang (600 sqm), Children Park-Sohkha (400 sqm), Children Park-Khonglah (320 sqm), Children Park- Lulong (462 sqm), Children Park- D.C. s Quarter-Jowai (418 sqm), Ialong Park- Ialong- Jowai (12.80 ha.)|
|8||East Garo Hills Social Forestry Division, Williamnagar||Williamnagar Children Park (4.80 ha.), D.C. Park Williamnagar (1.00 ha.), Botanical Garden (13,.00 ha.), BajengdobaPark (1.68 ha.), V.I.P.s Plot near D.C. Residence (1.75 ha.), ChildrenPark at Thapa Kantolgure (0.32 ha.) &DamashMiniChildrenPark –Damash (1.32 ha.)|
|9||West Garo Hills Social Forestry Division, Tura||Rangsakona Children’s Park, Bonepa Atilla Children’s Park, Asingre Children Park, Ampati Children Park, Nogorpara Children Park & Memorial Children Park|
|10||South Garo Hills Territorial and Social Forestry Division, Baghmara||Mini Children Park-Siju, Mini Children Park-Rongra, Recreation Park-Baghmara & Botanical Garden cum Children Park- Masighat|
|11||Khasi Hills Wildlife Division, Shillong||Lady Hydari Park-Shillong and LumNehruPark Umiam|
|12||East & West Garo Hills Wildlife Division, Tura||Tura Park- Tura Akkonggre near DC Office (0.83 ha.), Nehru park cum Mini Zoo –Danakgre-Tura 913.04 ha.|
|14||Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division||Wildlife Complex Salaroh-Jowai|
Thangkharang, a small hamlet in the southern aspect of Sohra (Cherrapunjee), East Khasi Hills District is located at a distance of about 66 Kms away (by road) from Shillong. During the Pre – Independence period, Khasi traders who were trading with erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) used this place as night halt. During their halt, they usually lit a campfire and smoked the fishes brought from East Pakistan (“Thang” means smoke or burn and kharang means smoked fish). Hence, the place is called “Thang-kharang”.
The Forest Department through Social Forestry Division East Khasi Hills during the year 1992-93 took initiative by consulting the local Sirdar, headmen and village elders of MawsmaiElaka to spare the forest land on the western end of the village and develop it as a recreational park.
The primary objective was to protect and maintain the natural landscape and to develop and preserve its scenic beauty. The Department and the Elaka signed the agreement on 29th June 1993. The Department took over 5.5 hectares of land from the Elaka. After three years of development, the park was inaugurated and opened to public on 29th June 1996.
The Department established the Park as an Environmental – cum Recreational Centre to create awareness among the visitors on importance of Forests and Environment and need for its conservation - and more importantly to imbibe in their mind that “ Nothing is redundant in Nature “ .
Management: Social Forestry Division East Khasi Hills has been managing the park through the Range Officer Cherrapunjee. The field Staff who perform daily duties include a Forester, one Forest Guard and ten casual labourers engaged on daily basis to look after overall maintenance of the park. The Range Forest Officer conducts regular inspection and monitoring over the staff ‘s performances and submits the revenue report including the number of visitors every month.
Infrastructure:- The whole area of the park is fenced partly with iron grills and chain link. Other infra-structure inside the park include View-points, Rain shelter, Footpath, Children play- things and flower gardens. Shrubs e.g, Camelia (Camelia japonica), Azelia (Rhododendron mucronulatum), Roses etc and trees viz, Tejpata (Cinnamommumtamala), Ligustrum (Ligustrumspp), Boxmyrtle (Myricaesculenta), Needle wood tree (Schimaspp), Castanopsisspp, Oak (Quercusspp), Jamun (Syzygiumspp), etc. of different species have also been planted in addition to existing vegetation grown naturally in the area. Besides, the Green House was constructed for keeping varieties of orchids spp., smaller plants and trees of different species have also been planted. Besides, The Green House had also been constructed for keeping variety of Orchid species (e.g, Orchids of local varieties, Lady’s slipper, Necklace orchids) including Hybrids like Wind orchids etc, Seasonal Flowers, Pitcher Plant and Indoor plants.
Ward’s Lake, is “A sylvan site of breath taking beauty” covering an area of 6.28 hectares, in the heart of Shillong. William Erskine Ward, Commissioner of the then Assam Province developed the park during the British rule in 1892-93 and thus the name Ward’s Lake. Out of 6.28 hectares, about 2.20 hectares is an artificially created lake built by constructing a dyke on the northern side. The Park generates revenue by collecting entry fees. The serene beauty and idyllic atmosphere of the park attracts tourists/visitors amidst the humdrum of surrounding city life. The Peak tourist season is during October to April.
In the initial years, management of the lake had been under the establishment of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office. Later it was handed over to the Forest Department for up keeping and maintenance. The Tourism Department took over the Lake during the year 1981. The Forest & Environment Department took over management of the lake in the year 2000 and has been taking care of the lawn and garden area.
The Forest & Environment Department assigned the task of management of the lake to the Social Forestry Division, East Khasi Hills, Shillong.Formal handing and taking over of the lake between the Division and the Tourism Department took place on the 23rd October, 2000.The Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation continues to run Cafeteria and Boating facilities while Fishery Department is looking after the fishes in the lake.
The periphery of lake area is fenced with brick walls and iron grills. The lake is surrounded with lawn for people to relax and enjoy the serene beauty and idyllic setting around. A good number of tree species e.g. Pine, Alder, Cherry, Butterfly tree/Purple orchid tree (Bauhinia purpurea), Pipli, (Bucklandiapopulnea), Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.), Box myrtle (Myrica esculenta), Rose Tree (Rhododendron arboreum), Bamboo species e.g. Tama bamboo and Yellow bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) and shrubs like Camellia (Camellia japonica), Azelia (Rhododendron mucronulatum), Hydrangea (Macrophylla spp.), Cap jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides), Roses etc. inside it, combine with flower beds around with their arrays of seasonal flowers vivify the lake all around the year.
Apart from the natural lawn setting, 27 nos. of garden chairs and 4 nos. of rain shelters had also been placed for the visitors. A Green House for orchids and indoor plants had also been constructed to provide additional information to tourists who visit the lake.
Ialong Park, located about 8 kms from Jowaiis known for itsSacred Grove of SeinraijIalongand for its setting through which one can view the beautiful Pynthorwah Valley. The former Governor of Meghalaya, His Excellency,Shri K. K. Paul inaugurated the park on the 5th of October 2013; thereafter, it was opened to the general public. Since then, the Park has successfully established its identity on the tourist map of the State due to its unique location, landscape and floral composition of the area and scenic view of the Myntdu River. It attracts a wide range of visitors mostly during the months of September to May. Although lesser known, the ecological park has much to offer to nature lovers.