Jan 11, 2019-
Can you imagine a day without electricity? A day with no lights, electric gadgets, fans, fridges or any other electrical appliances? You can say it is probably impossible to live without electricity. Although we have the privilege of 24 hours electricity nowadays, it wasn’t the case even few years back. Now, we may take this facility for granted but it is important to learn and understand the history of electricity in Nepal.Nepal was introduced to electricity in 1911 when then Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana visited England in 1907 and was amazed to see light bulbs.
He wanted the same in Nepal.
The Rana Prime Minister then requested the British Government to help him establish a hydropower plant in Nepal.
This resulted in the construction of Pharping Hydropower project in 1907, which was named Chandrajyoti Hydro-electric power station at the time. It was completed after four years in 1911. Pharping is about 12 km south of Kathmandu, en-route to Dakshinkali Temple. We had to go through a long bumpy road to reach our destination. When we reached the power house, I was amazed to see that the hydropower building was in a relatively good condition. I couldn’t believe how the old power house survived two massive earthquakes in 1934 and 2015.
Inside the power house, there were two sets of large machines, a turbine and a generator. We were told that they generated 500 Kw of electricity. We also got a glimpse of a worn-out small mechanical crane which was used to lift the heavy machines, which is still functioning.
We also examined the penstock pipe which led the water from the reservoir situated in the hilltop to the power house. At present, this power house is a museum. I was also amazed to know that people carried such heavy machinery on their backs to
transport it to Pharping due to absence of roads to the power house.
The main water reservoir was 566 metres above the powerhouse.
It was a circular pond of 61 metres diameter and 5.5 metres depth.
The reservoir pond now serves as a drinking water supply pond, which supplies water to Lalitpur area.
When electricity was first produced in Nepal, it was only connected to the royal palaces, street lights leading to these palaces and some residences of elites in Kathmandu.
In those times, common people couldn’t even afford the high price of electricity. After the Pharping hydropower, the second hydropower plant was built in 1936 during Juddha Shumsher’s rule at Sundarijal. After the end of Rana regime, more power plants were constructed and the electricity was made available to common people in relatively cheaper price.
The visit was a good lesson in history of electricity in Nepal. It can be a good place for a weekend hike and there are also public bus services available.
- Shradheya Krishna Manandhar
DAV School, Jawalakhel
DAV School, Jawalakhel
Published: 11-01-2019 08:56