You might’ve read about or visited the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in the context of treks, expeditions or mountaineering meet-ups, but that’s not all that this quaint organization has to offer! We recently went on a quest to explore India’s breathtaking Himalayan history at the Tenzing Norgay Museum located inside IMF, and emerged from the mountains (yes, you can feel them every step of the way here!) carrying a deep sense of pride and awe at our country’s brave Sherpas and Colonels with an iron will as sturdy as the mountains they scaled *salute!*.

Spread over two storeys, the Museum is divided into various sections such as Women Achievers, Indian Pioneers, Early Explorations and Milestones, with an assortment of awards, well-preserved black and white photographs, mountaineering equipment (including original pieces used by Bachendri Pal, Santosh Yadav and H.C.S. Rawat), detailed dioramas and route maps, life-size exhibits, portraits of decorated Indian and international mountaineers and framed vintage news articles. There’s definitely a lot to take in and virtually impossible to walk past even a single display without a second glance!

The third floor houses a Members Library with over 3,500 books, magazines and journals dedicated to Alpinism, a lot of which are donated by the IMF members, and a Summit Room for meetings. Both of these are for members’ use only. Unfortunately, all three floors were deserted during our visit and we had to go looking for someone to even switch on the electricity, so don’t expect a guide or tour. The visual diaries are enough to walk you through India’s glorious Everest saga!

Here’s a list of showcases that piqued our interest a bit more than the rest:

Mountaineer’s Best Friends

This featured a range of rock and ice climbing apparatus in all shapes and sizes, some of which we saw for the first time ever! Jumars, ice screw pit ons, crampons, ski sticks, rock hammers, ice axes-cum-hammers - the tools of the trade, were all lined up neatly on the wall. The huge ice axes gave us all the feels!

Bachendri Pal’s Gear

For those of you who don’t know (guys, seriously?), Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1984. The original outfit she wore and the climbing gear used during her ascent can be seen in a glass cupboard, which brings to life an image of her trudging her way through snow and storm to the top of the world *shivers down the spine*!

The Great Theodolite

A snatch of trivia here - a theodolite is used for measuring angles in horizontal and vertical planes. This massive surveying instrument (weighing 458 kgs!) was used by British Col. William Lambton from 1802 and subsequently by many other officers for primary triangulations in India. This piece was last used in 1866. Woah!

Dioramas by Serbjeet Singh

Artist Serbjeet Singh is well-known for his topographical sketches of the Himalayas, and won the President’s Award in 1964 for his first feature film ‘The Avalanche’, which was shot on location at 18,000 feet! His dioramas of Saser Kangri and Everest among others are speckled across the second floor and capture minute details which make them appear larger than life.

Learn More About His Work Here |

Rescue on Devtoli & HCS Rawat’s Climbing Boots

A lone battered glove serves as a memento from mountaineer Harish Kapadia’s 1974 rescue on Devtoli (6,788 metres), six days after he had fallen in a crevasse! The display (including a monochrome snapshot) was impactful enough to exude a decidedly ominous vibe. Weathered climbing boots used by HCS Rawat in his 1965 ascent of Everest are also a part of IMF’s collection here.

Read The Full Account Here |

One of the most famous mountaineers in history, Tenzing Norgay came to be known as ‘the Tiger of the Snow’ post his Everest ascent. Testing the limits of human endurance and going where no human had been before, the iconic image of him on the highest summit in the world is also an enduring symbol of the indomitable human spirit, which the Museum captures beautifully.

We recommend this trip down memory lane to even those who are not particularly interested in the field and we promise you’ll leave with an enlightening history sesh, a phone packed with pictures and ‘height’ened emotions!

Location | Indian Mountaineering Foundation, 6, Benito Juarez Road, Near South Campus
Timings | 11 AM - 5 PM

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