International Mountain Museum (IMM)
The International Mountain Museum in Pokhara Nepal houses a collection of artifacts and information related to life and mountain climbing above 12,000 feet. More than 70,000 people visit the museum each year. These people come to see the many exhibits, which include world famous peaks and the mountaineers that climbed the peaks, culture and lifestyle of the people who live on the mountains, biology of mountain plants and animals, and the geologic formations that created the mountains and their corresponding rock classes.
This blog post provides a brief overview of the entire museum. Feel free to share it on your social media channels. If you have a Pinterest, please pin the pictures you enjoy.
The museum is 2 miles south east of Lakeside Pokhara. It takes 10 m minutes to get there by car or is a 30-minute walk. I do recommend walking because there are a lot of scenic pathways that lead to the museum. You might get lost because its not a direct route, but if you follow Lakeside road south east, you should be able to find it.
The entrance fee is dependent on your nationality. Nepali nationals are charged $0.8, SAARC nationals are charged $2, and other foreign nationals are charged $4.
The international Mountain Museum was established on Dec 1st, 1995 by Nepal Mountaineering Association. It had a soft opening on May 29th, 2002 and opened officially on February 5th, 2004.
Best time to go
The museum is open all year long from 9am to 5pm. The best time to go is in the morning, but you run the risk of being swarmed by school kids.
International Mountain Museum exhibit halls
There are 4 exhibit halls in the museum. Each covers a specific topic relating to mountains. You will come to the hall of mountain people first, then hall of world mountains, after that the Hall of mountain activities, and then finally Hall of temporary display.
Hall of mountain people
The hall of mountain people has two sections, mountain people of Nepal and mountain people of the world. It provides information about the people that live on the mountains. It also has a gorgeous mandala that is amazing to look at.
Mountain people of Nepal
This section looks into the past and present daily lives of “mountain people.” It examines their customs, traditions, culture, dresses, ornaments, musical instruments, and household items. The ethnic groups investigated are Tamangs, Thakalis, Chhantyals, Gurungs, Sherpas, Pun Magars, Yakkhas, Rais, Limbus and Sunuwars.
Mountain people of the world
This section of the hall of mountain people is small. It identifies other countries and their ethnic groups that live on mountains. The countries identified are Taiwan, Slovenia, Japan, and various European countries.
A giant sand mandala rests in an enclosed case at the center of the exibit. It was created by Lama Ngawang Kechha Sherpa. It is an incredible art piece, which is alone worth visiting IMM for.
Hall of world mountains
The hall of world mountains has 4 sections, mountain, geological, flora and fauna, and dedications. It identifies the tallest mountains in the world and provides their height. It also provides information on their geological formations and classifications, mountain biology, and the mountaineers and summiteers that made the mountains famous.
This section identifies the 14 peaks over 26,247 feet. It also provides their pictures with information about summits and summit attempts.
This section is a geologist’s dream because of the plethora of information and displays it provides. There are interactive monitors, and films that show how the Himalayas were formed. Fossils and different types of rocks are displayed. In addition, there are even some rare earth minerals on display.
Flora and fauna section
This section is a natural history trove. It identifies some plants such as rhododendrons and where to find them, but mainly focuses on the animals. There is also a decent sized display of the different kinds of butterflies found int the areas. The natural history museum in Pokhara has a great butterfly display.
Corner of dedications
This section displays equipment used by climbers, which includes cloths tools, and cameras with photographs. It also identifies the Nepali people associated with the development of the of the IMM and their contributions.
Hall of mountain activities
The hall of mountain activities has 5 sections, equipment, ecology and environment, images, climate change, and touch screen sections. This portion of the museum focuses on climbers, equipment, climate, climate change, and provides a chronological display of the 26,247-foot peaks in the order they were summited. In addition, there is a side display of stamps with mountain pictures on them from around the world.
This section is similar to the corner of dedications section in the previous hall, but the displays are larger, and it only focuses on the mountaineers that summited the 14 peaks. Pieces of the summiteers’ equipment are also on display with their photograph.
Mountaineering equipment section
This section displays the equipment most commonly used for summiting mountains. The equipment is grouped by type and age. Its impressive to see the different styles and their advancements. In addition to the primary equipment, there is a small section on the different types of knots and what they are used for.
Mountain ecology and environment section
I don’t remember there being a lot of information about mountain ecology. This section was mainly focused on the environment at altitude. It also has a large display of garbage removed from Mt. Everest and Lhotse to demonstrate the importance of not littering and how a little bit adds up.
Imaging Everest section
This section has a ton of photographs of mountains and the people that climb them. The pictures were taken by people on British expeditions to Mt. Everest starting in 1921. There are some very cool old photos in the lot.
Climate change section
This section focuses on the effect of climate change on the mountains. The most notable impact is the recession of Himalayan glaciers. The section is divided into the effect of climate change on air, water, and ice.
I don’t remember this section, but supposedly you can interact with satellite images to view mountains, lakes and different areas of Nepal.
Hall of temporary display
This area has items on loan in it. When I went, it had photographs of Dr. Tony Hagen and others loaned by ICIMOD. It also has a prayer room and library.
Prayer room (Lakhang)
This room is a replica of a Buddhist prayer room and is always open for people to enter and pray. The room reflects the openness of people living in the Himalayas.
The library has a moderate selection of books on mountains, biology, people and mountaineering. When I went, I only saw a few books in English, but I didn’t investigate too deeply.
Mt. Manaslu model
The Mt. Manaslu model is outside the museum just before the front door. It is not to scale, but you can play on it. I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of fun.
The yak model isn’t part of the temporary display. It is outside located next to the foot path. Its ok, but it really doesn’t look like a yak to me.