HMI campus, Darjeeling

As per the schedule of HMI, the training was divided into two parts in which the initial 10 days training was to be done at HMI Campus in Darjeeling and the rest of the training was to be conducted at the HMI Basecamp in West Sikkim. This blog explains about life and training at HMI Darjeeling. If you haven’t read the previous blogs of this series then scroll down this page, you will find all the relevant links.

Life & Training at HMI Darjeeling

After coming back to HMI from the Zoo, I met my roommates. There was a total of 8 trainees in my room including me, Manas (Maharashtra), Kaushal (Gujrat), Prakash (West Bengal), Sonu (West Bengal), Aashiq (West Bengal), Somu (West Bengal) and Paul (Hong Kong). We had an introduction and then came to know that there also engineers were in majority 😜 At 5 pm, we all went to the main hall and assembled there. There were other trainees also waiting for the instructors.

Then our instructors came and welcomed us with the greetings. We were a total of 70 at that time and the other 10 trainees arrived 1 day late. So we were total 80 in the batch including trainees from almost all the states of India, 2 from the USA, 2 from Australia, 1 from Norway, and 1 from Hong Kong. There were trainees who were 12th class students, college students, NCC Cadets, Private jobs, travel jobs (like me), Army personnel, officers from Army, Airforce, and Indian Forest Services.

Our Chief Instructor Mr. Lakpa Norbu Sherpa Sir came and introduced himself and all other instructors. He advised all of us to be in discipline. There were a total of 10 instructors including Soumendu Sir, Pawel Sharma Sir, Sonam Sir, Zubin Sir, Lekhraj Sir, Abhinay Sir, Pankaj Sir, Nandan Sir, Nima Mam and Rozie Mam. From the next day, our training was about to start, so we all slept just after having dinner.

HMI Boys Hostel - Training at HMI Darjeeling
HMI Boys Hostel
Girls Hostel in HMI Campus - Training at HMI Darjeeling
Girls Hostel in HMI Campus
Kanchenjhunga visible from HMI Campus
Kanchenjunga visible from HMI Campus

Schedule at HMI Campus

  • 0500 hrs                       – Tea
  • 0555 hrs                         – Fall in
  • 0600 – 0700 hrs            β€“ Physical Training/Yoga
  • 0700 – 0800 hrs            β€“ Breakfast
  • 0800 – 1230 hrs           – Activity/Classes
  • 1230 – 1330 hrs            β€“ Lunch
  • 1400 – 1730 hrs            β€“ Activity/Classes
  • 1730 – 1800 hrs            β€“ Tea Break
  • 1800 – 1900 hrs            β€“ Training Film
  • 1900 – 2000 hrs            β€“ Dinner
  • 2130 hrs                       – Lights off

Before going further, let me tell you some terms that we generally used during training at HMI Darjeeling.

Fall In

It means wherever you are and whatever you are doing, if this word is announcing then just leave everything and assemble into your ropes at the respective place, i.e., at the open ground or fall-in area. 


It is nothing, just another word for groups. All the activities that are scheduled, we were supposed to perform in our respective ropes. We were divided into 10 ropes each having 8 trainees and each rope had been assigned a rope instructor. I was in rope 7. There were a total of 8 trainees in my rope including me, Paul, Akhil, Renu, Anoushka, Prakash, Krushna, and Rahul.

Mess Tin

It is a kind of lunch box in which we used to carry our packed lunch during trekking. At basecamp, we used to eat all the meals in the mess tin only.


PT means Physical Training. Every morning, we used to start with a 10 minutes warm-up then running for 5 km on an inclined road followed by hardcore exercises and yoga. PT was to increase our stamina and strength of muscles and Yoga was to enhance our breathing power so that it could help us in high altitude.

while fall-in
while fall-in
Mess Tin
Mess Tin
While having dinner in the Hostel mess
While having dinner in the Hostel mess

Daily we used to wake up at 0430 hrs and after freshening up, we had to fall in at 0555 hrs. On the first day, I was a little nervous and very much excited. Nervous because of my zero preparation and excited because I had never done such training. I was always fanatic about army life.

After fall in, we used to start with a warm-up which included mainly simple aerobic exercises, jumping, and a little stretching. Then after exiting the campus, we were made to run 5 km daily on an inclined road. Post running, we used to do rigorous exercises such as pushups, squats, planks, crunches, etc. that too without any break. The workout didn’t use to end here. We also had to run 5 km again to return to the campus. During the run, we were not allowed to jog or take rest. The instructors used to run along with us by keep shouting “run fast, cover up the distance”.

Every day, there used to be a different instructor, who had to conduct the training. There was one instructor named “Pankaj” who’s training was the toughest out of all. As he was from the Indian Army and was at the HMI on the deputation, he used to conduct the army like training. One day while returning to the campus after the exercise, he asked all of us to stop and ordered: “carry your buddy on your shoulder and run”. We got literally out of breath but it was fun. Thanks to my buddy, his weight was only 51 kg :D. We also used to do Yoga every alternate day and trust me Yoga is tougher than exercises.

We had a medical test to check our physical fitness and I was declared fit. At the HMI campus, we did several activities, had lectures on various topics, and we were shown documentary movies on mountains and expeditions.

Our whole training was divided into three parts, Rock Craft, Snow Craft and Ice Craft. Rock Craft training was to be conducted at Darjeeling itself and the rest two were to be done at HMI Base Camp (14,600 feet) at Chaurikhang in West Sikkim. According to the HMI schedule, our rock craft training was scheduled from 4 April to 11 April and then we had to move Sikkim for our further training.

The next blog explains the Rock Craft training at HMI Darjeeling

Here are all the blogs regarding my HMI journey.

Hope you enjoyed reading the blog. In case of any suggestions, improvements, or any queries, please let me know in the comments. πŸ™‚

Written by

Manu Khandelwal

An engineer and a travel blogger. Loves trekking and doing bike road trips. Burger lover (want to try every burger in the world). Clinomaniac. Sports fanatic. Likes technology but not a technology addict.