Himalayan Mountaineering Institute stands as an emblem for all those who have braved the snow and the ridges to make their mark at the highest altitudes. This goes for the hero who have conquered the hills. It was built to commemorate the success of Tenzing Norgay who accompanied Edmund Hillary in the conquest of Mount Everest in 1953.
Tenzing was the first field trainer for mountaineering enthusiasts at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. A present, it offers a residential school for mountaineering students as well as a museum housing mountaineering artifacts and displays.
The foundation stone was laid by the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The institute offers month long on mountaineering. There are some small curio shops selling Himalayan craft, gems etc that the tourists can pick up as a souvenir.
A tour around the institute gives you glimpses of expeditions undertaken by the mountaineers. It is much more that sitting at a distance and admiring the beauty. It is humongous and life threatening. I imagined myself in their shoes. At first the sprawling white sheet of snow seemed appealing but after that came the other side of the beautiful nature. The scarier side of it… it sent a chill through the spine.
I walked around the institutes panning the reminiscence of the glories of the past. The signage that says, “May you climb from peak to peak.” Truly, this is what climbing is all about. Suddenly, an ad banner of some management institute flashed on my mind. They had this kind of a visual. It had a man climbing up the mountains with some similar tagline written underneath. I could imagine the kind of valor and grit that is actually required to climb from peak to peak.
The institute also gave some of the most beautiful views of the mountains. The snow capped Kanchenjunga looked the same from every part of Darjeeling. Pristine white with hues of withered yellow reflecting the sun. It was a very enriching experience for me and will stay in my mind long after I leave this place.