Mountaineering is quite popular in India. Our north-east is festooned with the Himalayas which houses some of the highest peaks in the world! Also, our proximity to Nepal which houses the mighty mountain peaks like Mt. Everest and Mt. Cho Oyu is also a factor that inspires the people to take up mountaineering. But mountaineering is not easy. To be a mountaineer and to get permission to climb these magnificent peaks, you need to complete at least your Basic Mountaineering Course, or any similar course. Now, if you aspire to climb mountains someday and are confused as to which institute to pick for your training… Here are 6 premier mountaineering institutes in India that will help you become a mountaineer.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling
The HMI was established in 1954, after the first ascent to the summit of Mt. Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary sparked an interest among the locals to take up mountaineering. The main aim of this establishment is to promote mountaineering as a sport.
With the impetus provided by our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the institute was established in Darjeeling, West Bengal. The founding principal of the HMI was Narendra Dhar Jayal, the pioneer of Indian mountaineering. Tenzing Norgay was the first director of field training at HMI.
HMI regularly conducts the Basic and the Advance Mountaineering Courses. These are very comprehensive courses and highly subsidised, so that people from humble backgrounds can also take up mountaineering.
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi
Not only is NIM known as one of the premier mountaineering institutes in India, but in Asia as well. Not only does the institute aim to popularise adventure and mountaineering sports, but it also gives importance to following conventional environmental guidelines to ensure environmental awareness and conservation.
This institute was established at Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand in 1965, to honor the great desire of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was an ardent mountain lover. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, the hon’ble Defence Minister of India is the President of the esteemed institution.
NIM is the only mountaineering institute in India that is recognised by the International Federation for Climbing and Mountaineering.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali
ABVIMAS was founded in 1961 and it provides specialised training in skiing, mountaineering and mountain rescue. Today, it is the largest adventure sports training centre in the country.
Located in the beautiful Manali, Himachal Pradesh, ABVIMAS is an institute that claims to have trained more than 40,000 thrill seekers. Being an institute that believes in the conservation of nature and environment, it preaches the importance of the “Leave No Trace” policy to its students. It is also one of the best training centres for skiing and other adventure sports of the mountains.
Natural rock faces and glaciers are available near the campus and thus the Basic Mountaineering Course here can be completed within 26 days, which is four days less than what other institutes take.
Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports, Pahalgam
JIM&WS was established in Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir in 1983. The Defence Minister of India is the President of the institution and the Chief Minister of J&K is the Vice President.
The first Basic Mountaineering Course was conducted in June–July 1985 with 17 students from a temporary hut in Aru. The institute’s courses are divided into two- Summer Courses and Winter Courses, based on the suitable seasonality to teach a sport.
During the summer season, JIM&WS conducts the Basic and the Advance Mountaineering Courses. The course fees are also highly subsidised by the Govt. of J&K.
National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Dirang
NIMAS was born in 2011 when the government wanted an institute to cater to the development and nurturing of the adventure sports in Arunachal Pradesh. Spread across 52 acres of land, NIMAS is located in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh.
The institute was carefully crafted to offer training across land, air and water – a first of its kind that allows civilians to experience challenges across a variety of outdoor surfaces as well as pursue a career in adventure sports.Self- exploration and individual evolution is the key goal of the institute.
Like every other premier mountaineering institute in India, seats are allotted on the “first come first serve” basis. Col. Sarfraz Singh from the elite Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army is the Director of the institute.
Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg
IISM was established in Gulmarg, J&K in 1969 by the Department of Tourism and Govt. of India. At first the institute was just a skiers’ training programme, but later it was expanded into a mountaineering institute as well.
The institute is headed by Col. J S Dhillon, who is known to have climbed around twenty-two Himalayan peaks. IISM presently conducts many courses on mountaineering, skiing, water skiing, paragliding, paramotors, parasailing, white water rafting, etc.,
The institute provides special concession to groups coming from schools and colleges. International students are also welcome to train with IISM.
If you aspire to be a mountaineer someday and conquer heights that not every human being can reach, you have to dedicate your time to train and learn how to tame the mighty mountains. What better way to learn than in a premier mountaineering institute in India? There is no better way!