Shanan Power House: First Hydroelectric power project of H.P


The Shanan Power House is located just 2 km away from Jogindernagar in the beautiful state of Himachal Pradesh, India. It stands as a tribute to India's early efforts in hydroelectric power. British Engineer Colonel B.C. Batty and Raja Karan Sen, the ruler of Joginder Nagar, collaborated to commission this iconic project in 1932. This milestone project has been instrumental in shaping the region's energy landscape.

Current Status and Transition of Ownership

It is the first hydroelectric power project of India in megawatt capacity. After the reorganization of states in 1966, Punjab was given control of the Shanan powerhouse by the Centre because the lease agreement, which was signed in 1925, had not yet expired. Under the jurisdiction of the Punjab State Electricity Board, the Shanan Power House contributes substantially to the revenue of the Punjab government. However, a significant transition is on the horizon, as the Himachal Pradesh Government is set to take control in 2024 following the completion of a remarkable 99-year lease.

Designing the Powerhouse: Harnessing Hydroelectric Potential

Geographical Overview

The Shanan Power House strategically harnesses the hydroelectric potential between the Uhl River at Barot and Jogindernagar, spanning a distance of 7.3 km across a mountain range. Barot, situated at an elevation of 1829 m, serves as the source, while the powerhouse itself sits at an elevation of 1283 m. The water conductor system comprises a diversion dam at Barot, a tunnel, and penstocks, with three penstocks – two original and a third added in 1982 for increased capacity.

The primary feature of the hydro project is its four-stage haulage trolley service. This service was primarily designed to transport construction materials of the Shanan powerhouse from Jogindernagar to Barot. The trolley is a unique pulley-based system with no engine, steering wheel, gears, or brakes.

Capacity and Water Discharge

Originally equipped with 4 x 12 MW turbines, the power station underwent a significant upgrade in March 1982 under the Punjab Government. The original turbines were replaced with 4 x 15 MW turbines, and an additional 50 MW turbine was introduced, resulting in a robust total capacity of 110 MW. The discharged water flows into Neri Khad in the River Beas catchment area, marking a harmonious integration into the local ecosystem.

Construction Challenges and Legacy

Vision of B.C. Batty

Colonel B.C. Batty envisioned a network of five hydro-electric power stations utilizing the waters of the Uhl River. To facilitate construction, a railway line was laid from Pathankot to Joginder Nagar. A remarkable feat was the creation of a funicular trolley way system to transport construction material to the hilltop for the Barot water reservoir.

Unfinished Vision

Tragically, the grand plan for five power projects could not reach fruition due to the untimely death of Colonel Batty. The project was halted, leaving only three power stations, with Shanan Power House being one of them. Another recent addition to the hydroelectric landscape is the Chullah Power Station with its reservoir at Machiyal.


The Shanan Power House stands not only as a powerhouse of energy but also as a historical marvel, reflecting the ambitions of its visionary creators. As it transitions into the hands of the Himachal Pradesh Government, it continues to symbolize the resilience and ingenuity that marked its construction almost a century ago.

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