International Mountain Museum (IMM) has become one of the most popular destinations for the tourists and locals in the lake city of Pokhara.
"Since its establishment eight years ago, the museum has seen about 667,019 visitors, including domestic and foreigners," the chief of International Mountain Museum Bal Prasad Rai said, adding that the museum has also been able to generate revenue of Rs 43.5 million since its operations.
Of the total visitors, the students frequent the museum the most as some 342,185 students have visited IMM generating revenue of Rs 8.1 million, Rai, who is also a museologist, said.
Domestic tourists come second in terms of number of museum goers with 178,389 Nepalis have entered the museum, according to the records.However, foreign tourists are the largest contributor — despite relatively smaller footfalls — in terms of revenue. The revenue generated from the foreigners amount to Rs 22.8 million.
The IMM is a tribute to mountains and mountaineers as an effort to preserve the history of the mountain climbing expeditions in Nepal by Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
The construction of the museum that was opened for visitors since February 2004 construction began in 1996. It covers an area of 4,242-sq metres. The museum offers the geography, ecology, and culture of the Himalayas exhibiting the history of mountaineering.
The museum is divided into five halls showcasing the Himalaya, hall of international mountains, hall of expeditions, hall of fame and exhibition hall. It also houses library to facilitate research."A full time senior JICA volunteer helps with the day to day operation of the museum," he added.
Of its five main galleries, the Gallery of the Mountain People of the World showcases the articles of the mountain people that represent their culture, like their dresses, ornaments and implements used in their daily life. The gallery exhibits geological information of the world mountain system including their origin and mountain habitat.
The Hall of the Himalayas displays the notable peaks in the Himalayan range along with its rich flora and fauna. It also houses the multi-ethnic diversity and their occupations in the region. The Hall of Internal Mountains displays the Nepal's mountain ranges and peaks in addition to the cultural diversity of tribes residing in the mountain regions.
Likewise, Hall of Fame displays the feats of great mountaineers, memorable events associated with them and famous explorers, research and discoveries.
Likewise, the Hall of Expeditions displays the history of mountaineering, types of equipment used, development of mountaineering techniques, and famous expeditions in the Himalayas.
One of the key attractions of the museum is the model of Mt Manaslu that stands 31 feet from the ground. The museum now houses research and conference halls as well as a 21 metres tall artificial climbing wall in its premises. It is an attempt at recording and documenting natural history and culture of the Himalayas as well as all the mountains of the world.