Himalayan Mountaineering Institute - 60th anniversary celebrations
November 13, 2014
“The Institute trains young men not only to climb Himalayan peaks, but also create in them an urge to climb peaks of human endeavour.”
These inspiring words spoken by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the foundation ceremony on November 4, 1954 define the ethos of one of the most venerable institutions of India, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). In fact, the motto of the institute is an equally inspiring one: May You Climb From The Peak To Peak.
2014 is the diamond jubilee year of this pioneering institute located in Darjeeling. India’s first mountaineering training institute was the result of the impetus that mountaineering as a sport received in India following the ascent of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, by the Nepalese-Indian Tenzing Norgay and the New Zealander Edmund Hillary on May 29, 1953.
For the last 60 years, this institute has rendered a yeoman service in kindling in people the love of mountaineering though its courses, camps and other activities. HMI offers different courses, including an adventure course, and basic and advanced mountaineering courses. Along with these regular courses, it offers specialised rock and sport climbing courses, instructors’ courses, courses for the physically and mentally challenged, and disaster management courses. HMI trains all the battalions of the National Disaster Response Force, along with the Royal Bhutan Army, in disaster and earthquake management and also conducts courses for SAARC students
A member of the UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation), this elite institute has trained more than 40,000 people, including 1,700 overseas trainees in different aspects of adventure and mountaineering, since its inception.
According to Colonel Gulshan Chadha, the principal of HMI, “The basic aim of this institute is to promote adventure activities in the Himalayas, spread ecological awareness and to preserve our Himalayan ethnic culture.”
To commemorate the diamond jubilee of this institute, yesterday began a five-day celebration with the laying of a wreath at the mausoleum of Tenzing Norgay, who was also the first Director of Field Training at the institute. The celebrations will include the general body meeting on November 12, a performance by musicians from Himalayan states, a nature workshop and a jungle walk at Birch Hill, Darjeeling (where the institute is located) organised by the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, a painting competition on themed on the Himalayas, mountains and Darjeeling, and a ‘Race to Save Environment,’ divided into four groups.
“On a more serious note,” said Colonel Chadha, “there will be deliberations on the economic empowerment of communities through adventure tourism, a national mountaineers meet on the creation of a national mountain search and rescue grid and the formulation of the recommendations to the government of India.”
A special 40 feet x 12 feet mural painting using ceramic tiles, depicting Mount Everest as seen from North Ridge, has also been created, designed by the curator of the HMI museum, Chandranath Das.
Incidentally, 2014 also happens to be the birth centenary year of Tenzing Norgay.
Chandranath Das, AMA
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