Ward's Lake Shillong
The Ward’s Lake is well known locally as the Pollock’s Lake or Nan Polok. Incidentally This is one of the most important tourist attractions of Shillong and indeed this is the core architectural design element around which the Shillong City has been planned. The lake is rumoured to be over a 100 years old.
Sir William Ward, the erstwhile Chief Commissioner of Assam first thought up the idea of creating this lake and therefore the lake is named after him. Fitzwilliam Thomas Pollock was a famous engineer in the pre independence era who had a great role in planning/ designing the lake.
The lake was constructed in 1894 by Colonel Hopkins. The beautification of the Ward's Lake owes special thanks to a Khasi prisoner who is still talked about by the locals. It is said that the prisoner Jismot Chyme dug out the Lake during his spare recreational hours.
Though the lake is purely an artificial body... it is lovely to look at due to impeccable maintenance by the local authorities. Beautiful botanical gardens surround the lake and all around you will be able to view a wide spectrum of orchids in full bloom. Botanists and horticulturists love the Ward’s lake more for its surrounding areas of colorful flowers rather than the other offered recreational facilities.
Paddle Boating at Ward's Lake, Shillong
There is a bridge over the Ward’s Lake that looks straight out of a storybook. It’s a nice place to click pictures or you can simply indulge in some ‘me time’ while feeding the fishes. You will be able to see waddles of geese roaming around in the garden and ducks floating peacefully in the lake. There are big ancient trees inside the garden and the whole place is great for kids as you can teach them a lot about nature here. The bridge opens up into gardens at both sides and there are beautiful fountains in there.
The bridge over Ward's Lake, Shillong
Old fashioned cobble stoned paths run through the gardens and the shores of the lake and they are reminiscent of the British colonial era. There are benches and shadowed canopies all throughout the park and they are a favourite amongst lovers and honeymooning couples. If you happen to arrive in Shillong during spring then do visit the Ward’s Lake to see the surrounding Cherry trees in full blossom.
The star of the show at the Ward’s Lake is definitely the paddle boating facility. Most tourists make a beeline for the boats and one can spend a very pleasant half an hour paddling away serenely in the Ward’s Lake while enjoying the profuse beauty all around. The Ward’s Lake has an intriguing shape... its shaped like a Horse’s Shoe. Interestingly a Horse’s Shoe is supposed to bring in good luck.
The Lake has a recreational complex with a gift shop and a café. With its stunning beauty, facility for paddle boating, lovely manicured gardens for kids to play or adults to sit and relax, and winding pathway around the lake ideal for a stroll... Ward's lake is a must visit for all, particularly for families with kids.
The Lake overlooks the Governor’s Residence of Shillong and quite near the Anglican Church too. Famous eateries like City Hut Dhaba and Café Shillong are just a stone’s throw away.
From Police Bazaar area you can actually walk down to the lake (will take about 15 minutes of leisure walk). While returning, you can look for the staircase on one side of the lake that comes all the way up to the main road from where Police Bazaar is a short walk of about 5-7 minutes. However the stairway is steep and you need to negotiate a lot of steps.
Ward's Lake (see the walkway)
Photo: Meghalaya Tourism
The entry fee to the Lake is INR 10 for Indian tourists, you need to pay extra for bringing along a camera and take permissions if you want to shoot videos.
Open Daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm in November to February;
And from 8.30am to 7pm from March to October