India’s geological diversity is immense. From abundant forests, to large perennial rivers, to lofty mountains, name it and India has it. Speaking of mountains, India has some of the most prominent mountain ranges in the world, including the Western and Eastern Ghats, the Aravalli, the Vindhya, Satpura, Karakoram, Pir Panjal, and Himalayas.
Climbing up the hills and the high peak is a great delight and gives a sort of splendid experience. If you wish to get the finest of mountain trekking experience, head towards the Himalayan foothills in India for India offers a plethora of mountaineering opportunities to the mountain enthusiasts. You will find some of the best mountaineering institutes in India where you can take the course.
Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)
As the name suggests, the Basic Mountaineering course is a primer to mountaineering. It gives both a theoretical as well as practical understanding of mountaineering techniques and use of equipment in different terrain (rock, snow and ice). The course also covers basic methods of rescue and aid, and important skills required in expeditions such as map reading. The course usually lasts 24-28 days, and is fully residential. Each person undergoing the BMC is assessed and graded. Upon completion of the BMC, one can lead commercial trekking groups in high altitude areas (above 2,000 metres). It is also the prerequisite for climbing peaks upto 7,000 meters. Moreover, an ‘A’ grade in the BMC is a prerequisite for undergoing further mountaineering courses.
The Government of India has set up institutes in the country which imparts these skills. Currently, there are five mountaineering institutes, open for admission to everyone. As these institutes receive subsidies from the Government, the course fees tend to be very reasonable. However, it is important to note that seats are limited, and they fill up very fast. A potential applicant has to wait for 1-2 years before getting a slot in these institutes.
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering:
NIM, situated in Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand), is rated as one of the best mountaineering institutes in India and also considered as the most prestigious mountaineering institute in Asia. The institute was set up to honour Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who was an ardent mountain lover.
NIM receives subsidies from the Ministry of Defence and Youth Affairs, and hence have among the lowest fees of all the institutes. Moreover, for the longest time, NIM was the only mountaineering institute to offer the Search and Rescue (SAR) course. The quality of this course is so good here, that even the instructors of other institutes undergo SAR training here. In terms of the Basic and Advance courses, rock training is supposed to be one of the best here. This is because NIM has access to the Tekhla area, which has different rock faces to practice all the techniques. NIM also provides more up-to-date equipment. Of course, the institute facilities are good, right from the hostels, to the campus.
More details: https://www.nimindia.net/programmes
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI):
HMI has the badge of being the very first mountaineering institute in India, set up by Tenzing Norgay, after his successful first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. Within no time HMI became the centre of excellence in the field of mountaineering. Darjeeling (West Bengal) was selected as the location of the Institute. HMI undertakes Basic and Advance Mountaineering Courses, as well as Method of Instruction. HMI regularly conducts the Basic and the Advance Mountaineering courses. These are very comprehensive and highly subsidised, so that people from humble backgrounds can also take up mountaineering.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS):
ABVIMAS today is the largest Adventure Sports training centre in the country spread over 20 acres of forested land on the banks of the river Beas in Manali. The institute offers not just mountaineering courses, but also skiing and water sports courses. The institute believes in the conservation of nature and environment, and preaches the importance of “Leave No Trace” policy to its students. As ABVIMAS charges a higher fee than the other institutes, it also tries to maintain course quality, by not overcrowding the batches, providing more variety in the food, etc. It also has an easier trek to the base camp, which reduces the course duration compared to the longer hikes in HMI. Moreover, Manali is very well connected and not as remote as some of the other institute locations. ABVIMAS also tends to have slightly shorter waitlists for admission.
More details: https://adventurehimalaya.org/trainingprogram.php
Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM & WS):
A relatively new institute, JIM & WS offers mountaineering and skiing courses. It is located near some of the most beautiful and untouched Ladakhi mountains. JIM & WS is also run by the Ministry of Defence, similar to NIM and HMI. Unfortunately, because of the tentative situation in Kashmir, not a lot of people sign up to go to JIM & WS. This means that seats are available easily, compared to the other institutes. This institute offers the shortest course duration for BMC and AMC (24 days) compared to 28 days for the other institutes, as the base camp is accessible through a largely motorable road. The rock climbing area in JIM & WS is also considered to be one of the best.
More details: http://www.jawaharinstitutepahalgam.com/
National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS):
Spread over an area of 52 acres, NIMAS is located in Dirang (Arunachal Pradesh). Situated on a hill which is at a height of somewhere between 6000-7000 feet, the institute overlooks the town of Dirang and the Sela Pass and boasts of wonderful scenery all around. The institute was carefully crafted to offer training across land, water and air – a first of its kind. NIMAS also offers the chance to experience the virgin region of Arunachal. The trek through Sela Pass is one of the most beautiful trails in the region. Moreover, the Meerathang Glacier where the trainees practice ice and snow craft, is one of the best glaciers among all the institutes.
More details: http://nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#813277