The Institute started at Roy Villa on Lebong Cart Road in 1954. It was shifted to present location on the western spur of Birch Hill (Jawahar Parbat) in 1957. The Institute is the landmark in Darjeeling and an important center of tourist attraction. It commands a magnificient view of Kanchenjunga massif. The Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research was approached to prepare a scheme for the HMI and Arnold Glatthard, Principal of Swiss Mountaineering School, Rosenlaui, visited Darjeeling for this purpose and made the necessary recommendations.