HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINEERING INSTITUTE

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute or HMI in Darjeeling

With the impetus provided by the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was established in Darjeeling on November 4, 1954 to encourage mountaineering as an organized sport in India. It is located at 27.060, 88.254 at an altitude of about 7000 feet above sea level. Tenzing Norgay was the first director of field training for HMI. The objective of the Institute is to encourage and promote the science and art of Mountaineering amongst its members. It aims to train the enterprising members of the community, who in turn develop mountaineering activities in the Himalayas as a sport or as a scientific pursuit.

Since its inception and its existence of 50 years, the Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering has trained more than 24,000 Indians and about 1000 foreigners. In its endeavor to inspire women to take up mountaineering, the month of May is dedicated solely for the purpose of training women at mountaineering – which has paid rich dividends. More and more women are mountain-bound these days. The Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering Graduation Certificate is a prized possession of a mountaineer which is recognized all over the world. The surprising aspect of this Institute is that it is the only institute that teaches the art of mountaineering and high-altitude trekking to the visually impaired. The famous tea gardens and enchanting view of Kanchenjunga peak makes your journey to HMI a memorable experience.

HMI also houses the oldest mountaineering Museum in the country. It was established in 1957. The museum which displays collection of models, paintings, sculpture, photographs, manuscript, autographs, books, mountaineering equipment belonging to famous mountaineers and other cultural belongings of hill folk. The museum is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, and it is closed on every Tuesday.

In the beginning only two mountaineering courses were run Basic Mountaineering and Advanced Mountaineering, in which trainees received theoretical as well as practical training in rock climbing, ice and snowcraft. The courses culminated with ascent of a peak of moderate height about 18000 ft. Earlier these courses used to be of 6 weeks, which has now been reduced to 4 weeks. This is mainly because during those days trainees had to spend most of their time in trekking as there was no motorable roads. There is also the Tenzing Samadhi located at a nearby hill top, at the place where this pioneering mountaineer was cremated.

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