Located at the foot-hills of Arya Tea Estate at an altitude of 3,200 ft, Sidrapong Hydel Power Station is only 11 km from the town. Its presence in the Hills is of great importance. The Station was commissioned on the 10th of November 1897 making it the first Hydel Power Station to be commissioned in Asia. Today, the giant turbines of the station no longer churn water producing electricity instead developed into a Heritage Institution, Sidrapong Hydel Power Station has become a museum, a fitting homage indeed to the first power station in Asia and to man’s indomitable spirit.
There are two approaches to the station and visitors can choose either as per their liking. The first approach is via Arya Tea Estate. The road up to the Tea Factory is well laid and jeepable, covering a distance of 6 km from Darjeeling. Beyond Arya Tea Factory thence, there exists a steep pony track up to Sidrapong Forebay covering a length of about 3 km. This approach though not much developed offers an added incentive. Visitors are required to travel through the lush tea gardens of the Arya Tea Estate. Further, the sight of young maidens plucking tea humming to a traditional song is worth a trek.
The second approach to Sidrapong Power Station is via Bloomfield Tea Estate. There is a well laid road from Darjeeling Town up to Bloomfield Factory, the same covering a stretch of 11 km. The existing foot track beyond Bloomfield Factory has recently been developed by Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council to a 14ft wide metalled road and a visitor needs no longer trek any distance to reach the Sidrapong Forebay. He or she simply needs to cross the Kotwali Jhora through a new bridge near the existing Intake to do so. This new all-weather road is today, the most popular among the visitors.
Sidrapong Hydel Power Station today consists of a Power House, Forebay, Penstock, and switchyard.
No fees of any kind are charged to visitors. Ample eateries are also available for visitors to indulge in local delicacies and one can even buy souvenirs. Nominal fees however, can be charged for taking photographs inside the power house. Visitors are also required to make arrangement for transportation. A two way travel arrangement is advisable.