In 1953, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was founded in Darjeeling to celebrate sherpa Tenzing Norgay’s trip to the summit of Mount Everest alongside Edmund Hillary. The institute opened as a training school for mountaineers, and Tenzing served as the first director.
Today, the institute has become somewhat of a pilgrimage site for climbers, who come from around the globe to train in the boarding school or visit the Mountaineering Museum, which chronicles the history of mountaineering with an interesting collection of artifacts from early Everest expeditions. One of the more interesting displays is a powerful telescope, used to see detail in the Kanchenjunga range, which was a gift from Adolf Hitler to Maharaja Judh Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal and eventually passed down to the institute.
Travelers looking to develop new mountain climbing skills can enroll in one of 16 courses scheduled at the institute each year, including basic and advanced mountaineering (28 days each).
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is located on the grounds of the zoo, so plan to combine your visits to maximize your time.