Cholamu Lake, North Sikkim

A woman biker’s tale of travelling to the highest Lake in Sikkim: Cholamu Lake

Author: Sourav Chettri
Date: 2021-08-09

Share using:

Sikkim is one of the most beautiful places in India situated amid mountain peaks, lush valleys, and free-flowing rivers. Bike trips to Sikkim have always been popular as there are many biking routes in Sikkim that cover all four districts, and each imparting a unique experience in terms of landmarks, people, food, and scenery. The most celebrated route is the North Sikkim biking route, which leads to the famous high-altitude Gurudongmar Lake.

Many popular bikers from across the nation have toured this exceptional route of North Sikkim. Known bikers like Sourav from, Amit from Counting Miles, Deepak from Extreme Moto Adventure, Sikkim local Arpita Sharma, and Dutch adventurer Noraly Schoenmaker have overcome the tough yet beautiful terrains of the North Sikkim biking route.

Notice the bikers we’ve named are both male and female. Well, that’s because Sikkim is one of the safest places to visit for female riders. Owing to the inhabitant’s warm nature and eagerness to help new people, Sikkim is a friendly place that guarantees loads of experiences.  

Another name that comes to mind while talking of female riders in Sikkim is Vatika Jain from Lucknow who became the first lady to ride to the highest lake in the country, Cholamu Lake (5,330 m), Sikkim and got herself listed on the Limca Book of Records as the first female biker to do so. She covered over 2,616 km from Lucknow to the lake in less than 10 days. She was accompanied by her brother and two friends (one is now her husband).

We were quite intrigued by the story of Vartika, so we reached out to her to know more about her journey to Sikkim.

Her ride to Sikkim

On asking how she came up with the idea of riding to Cholamu Lake, she replied: “I always wanted to ride to Northeast India and second, I found out that no other female rider had ever ridden to Cholamu Lake before, which I saw was an opportunity to make a name for myself. I wanted to be an example that women are equally capable of riding bikes on tough terrains like men.”   

Vartika on her way to Cholamu Lake

On her way to Cholamu Lake

Recalling the most difficult part of organizing the trip she said, “It took me three months to get permission for the lake for which I had to knock on several government officials’ doors. I even had a meeting with the home minister of the State of Lucknow for the permit.”

Riding the route 

As she was riding to get registered in the Limca Book of Records, her route was straightforward with no unnecessary detours or layovers. “I only visited a handful of tourist spots en route Gurudongmar Lake out of which Khangchendzonga Waterfalls was my favourite,” she said. 

Speaking about the challenges in Sikkim she said, “There were some minor logistic problems in Sikkim that we faced upon reaching Lachen, which is expected because Lachen is a secluded area with very little population.” 

When asked to share the feeling of reaching the destination she said, “Once I made it to the lake, the view was mesmerizing. The water was in the shades of green and blue. The lake had frozen edges, snow-capped mountains on the one side, and clean sand spread on the other. We couldn’t stay for long as the oxygen level was very low due to which I had started feeling dizzy.” She was all heart when praising the locals of Sikkim. “I was warned by the locals regarding the effect of low oxygen. They gave me popcorn saying it will help me from the dizziness, and believe it or not, that worked.”