Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

By Katyayini Kesharwani

Image by @photolove_graphy, Instagram
Out of the many unique experiences that Darjeeling has to offer, visiting the oldest Mountaineering Institute should be a valuable addition.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) is the oldest Mountaineering Institute of the world. The institute is situated on the foothills of Darjeeling and was established in 1954 by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first person to summit Mt. Everest. The Institute is engaged in the promotion of mountaineering as an organised sport like any other game in India.
Image by @_ishapal_, Instagram
A mural of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay stands tall at the entrance of the institute commemorating its founder.
To encourage the youth to take up the adventurous activity of mountaineering as a sport, HMI was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of India , Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. At present, the institution is jointly governed by West Bengal’s state government and the Government of India. The institute has contributed immensely to the mountaineering field and conducted many expeditions to various peaks of the Himalayas such as Mt. Kamet, Mt. Makalu, and to Mt. Everest.
Image by @the.mountain.child, Instagram

I urge more and more people to try mountaineering! It’s one of the toughest sports in the world, full of blood, sweat and tears. However, it’s all worth it at the end of the day. – @therohanpillai, Instagram

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has been a leader in imparting training and education about this unique adventure sport. Numerous learning programs are conducted by this institute, which includes adventure courses and basic mountaineering training. Special courses for kids, women, underprivileged and differently-abled people are also offered here. HMI has led many successful expeditions to the most difficult terrains of the Himalayas, which include Mount Makalu, the world’s fifth highest mountain crest. Some legendary mountaineers like Col Neeraj Rana, Nawang Gambhu, Bachendri Pal, and Dorjee Lhatoo have been associated with this institution. The story of achievers in Mount Everest Mountaineering without mentioning Arunima Sinha’s name, a differently-abled who successfully scaled defying all odds.Another highlight of HMI is its mountaineering museum founded in 1957. A fine assortment of paintings, literary works, artefacts, and models related to life in the mountains is showcased at this museum. The historic scientific equipment named Hitler’s Telescope is also preserved in this museum, by using which you can view the lofty Khangchendzonga. The Everest section of this museum features tools, maps, and other articles that were used during several attempts to climb this peak. The perfect destination for orophiles, the HMI is only a 6-minute drive from The Elgin, Darjeeling.
Image by @chottu_bhai, Instagram

Trekking with 20 kg load, staying in remote places like chowrikhang, rigourous training in rathong glacier, without having bath for 20 days, travelling solo unknown places, leaving far away from hometown and family just for this little Ice axe. Yes, this is very hard earned. – @trekkerbhau_prabhurajdravidian, Instagram

The HMI is renowned for its competent faculty that included personalities like Tenzing Norgay and winners of the nation’s highest adventure award. Tenzing Norgay, the legendary mountaineering wizard of International repute and standing, though genetically dwarf in height but his success story gave him sky-high Himalayan Everest stature ‘Second to None.’
Image by @soumya.10, Instagram

We all have to climb mountains, you know. Mountains that go way up high, and mountains that go deep and low. – @naresh_chandak, Instagram

The Institute offers courses at highly subsidized rates along with excellent training and boarding facilities. Courses range from the basics to advance techniques of mountaineering. It is situated on the Birch Hill and has a commanding view of Darjeeling’s tea gardens as well as the snow-clad peaks of the mighty Kanchenjunga. It has a good collection of historically significant photographs including some great mountaineering films. The mountaineering museum is the primary attraction to visitors here. The adventurous people will love the International standard outdoor artificial climbing wall that has a pavilion for spectators.

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