Within the zoo precinct, the prestigious HMI was founded in 1954 and has provided training for some of India’s leading mountaineers. Its fascinating Mountaineering Museum exhibits evocative memorabilia from the 1922 and 1924 Everest expeditions, which set off from Darjeeling, as well as more recent summit attempts including the successful 1953 climb. Just outside the museum are Tenzing Norgay's samadhi (cremation spot) and a Tenzing statue. The intrepid Everest summiteer was a director and adviser at the institute for many years.
An odd curiosity of the museum is the Carl Zeiss telescope presented by Adolf Hitler to the head of the Nepali Army.
The HMI also runs 28-day basic and advanced mountaineering courses from March to May and September to December.