Mountaineering Museum, Darjeeling: The oldest Mountaineering Museum of the country which was established in 1957 by the Himalaya Institute of Mountaineering is the Mountaineering Museum at an altitude of 7000 feet above sea level. The Mountaineering Museum has been set up in the campus of the Himalaya Institute of Mountaineering on the Jawahar Parbat with Le Bong Cart Road leading to it, in Darjeeling.
The Institute which trains mountain and mountaineering enthusiasts set up the Mountaineering Museum in order to showcase mountain sculpture; three-dimensional hand-made relief models representing the Himalayan mountains; paintings of the mountains and the mountaineers; photographs of the mountains and the mountaineers; manuscripts and autographs of famous Mountaineers such as Tenzing Norgay; books on mountaineering; and all the mountaineering equipment that our Indian Mountaineers have used to scale the Himalayan Range and a chronological history of attempts made at scaling the Mount Everest beginning from 1852. This is a dream-come-true for all Mountaineering-hopefuls.
Also on display in the Museum are:
- His Highness Dalai Lama s letter authorizing the first British expedition on 20th December 1920.
- The Dak Bungalow (Thambu, Sikkim) Guest Register containing signatures of the great mountaineers who passed through Sikkim to the Himalayas those days as opposed to the Nepal and China route that they presently take.
- Mountaineering equipment that was actually used by Tenzing Norgay, Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir John Hunt on their Everest Expedition in 1953.
- Critical information pertaining to the Everest Expedition in 1960 plus its route map.
- Mountaineering equipment used by Nawang Gombh - the first man to scale the Mount Everest twice during 1963 and 1965.
- The documentation of the 1924 controversial expedition of and information, signatures and equipment belonging to Irvine and Mallory.
The Mountaineering Museum also houses specimens of Himalayan Flora and Fauna that is indigenous to this region. Also notable is the statue of Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - one of the first two individuals who reached the summit of Mount Everest on 29 May 1953 which is placed right outside the Mountaineering Museum.
Another interesting item on display is Hitler s Telescope - a powerful Carl Zeiss Jena Telescope which could actually be used for astronomical observation but instead is being used to observe the Kanchenjunga Range of Mountains. This Telescope was actually a gift presented by the German Nazi Leader - Adolf Hitler to the Commander-in-chief of the Royal Nepal Army -Maharaja Judh Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana who passed it down to his son - General Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana who in turn thought it right to use optimally and therefore in 1961, presented the Telescope to the Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering. Visitors are allowed to view the Kanchenjunga Range through this Telescope. As this is a very high-resolution Telescope you can see the Kanchenjunga lot closer than ever before. Unless you actually climb this Mountain or fly over it, viewing it from this Telescope is the closest you will ever, so capitalize this opportunity.