The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling is one of the institutes at the forefront of mountaineering training in India. HMI, established in 1954, has successully trained thousands of budding mountaineers to literally great heights!!
And so, when I was off to the Basic Mountaineering Course No. 252 in March 2006, I went with great expectations. Now, at the end of it, I have memories for a lifetime. :)
The snaps of this trek are posted here
I have the blog for this experience as a pdf viewable here.
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The PDF has the schedule that we followed each day of the 28 day course so that you would know what to expect in the course and some of the best photographs that resulted from my camera :) (although the file compressor has severely mutilated some photographs!!!)
At the end is my take on HMI v/s NIM ...
Who conducts it -
The basic course (28 days) in India is conducted by 4 institutes, though the best two are HMI and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM). The course schedule for each year are usually updated online for HMI and NIM. Each institute conducts five basic courses and two advance courses each year for men and one separate course in each for women only. Some of the basic and advance courses among the 5+2 might be mixed.
Eligibility and cost-
Simple - 17 to 40 years of age - Medically fit :)
Since it is government subsidised, the costs are very very less - Only Rs. 4000/- as of 2006.
How to Apply -
HMI has a good online presence as does NIM. Just google for these institutes and you would get the info on the application and what to expect blah blah (or follow the links above if they arent broken!!)
You first need to send a letter to the institute requesting for the prospectus and then send in the application form and the medical certificate duly filled along with a draft for the course fee. Now, they support online money transfer too - but I guess you ought to do that after confirming if the account number et al are still the same from a phone call to HMI.
The good part about HMI is that you can decide to go almost at the last minute and you still have a great chance of getting a reservation for the course. However, for a course at NIM, be sure that you have sent in all the documents at least three months in advance.
And if you want me to add any more info on either the PDF or this blog, lemme know at email@example.com :)