Establishment of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
With the motivation provided by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was established on 4th November 1954 in Darjeeling. Narendra Dhar Jayal, the pioneer of Indian Mountaineering, was the founding principal of the institute. The first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary sparked a keen interest in establishing mountaineering as a well-respected endeavour for people in the region. Tenzing Norgay was the first director of field training for HMI.
Late Maj N.D. Jayal was the first Principal of the Institute. Since then, this institution regularly conducts adventure, basic and advanced mountaineering course. These are very comprehensive courses, highly subsidised to encourage mountaineering as a sport. In 1954, the location of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was at Roy Villa on Lebong Cart Road, later in 1957, it was shifted to present location on the western spur of Birch Hill (Jawahar Parbat).
Administration of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, an autonomous body is governed by an Executive Council, which is headed by the Defence Minister as the President. The Chief Minister of the State of West Bengal is the Vice President of the Institute and the council has eminent mountaineers as its members. The representatives of Govt. of Nepal and Govt. of Bhutan are also members of the Council. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has three primary wings, namely Training Wing, Administrative Wing and Museum. The Training Wing is lead by the Vice Principal and it has one Deputy Director of Field Training, an Advisor of Field Training, and other instructional staff. The medical officer also forms a part of the training team. The Administrative Wing includes Administration, Equipment, Hostel, Record and Accounts. The Museum Wing has two museums, Mountaineering and Everest Museum. The trainees of various courses can also see films on mountaineering and related sports.
Courses Offered in Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute regularly conducts Adventure, Basic and Advanced Mountaineering courses. These are very comprehensive courses. They are also highly subsidised to encourage mountaineering as a sport. It also offers a specialized course for differently abled students which are carefully planned with effective curriculum. In its 65 years of existence, the institute has trained more than 45,000 students including 2,500 from abroad.
Facilities at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
There is one main museum called the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute museum that exhibits the preserved art, culture and developments in the sport of mountaineering. The HMI has in it a well-stocked library with over 2800 books on a wide range of subjects mainly on mountaineering, travel, geology, exploration, flora, etc. The second museum is called the Everest Museum.