Comparing my first college vacations to my summer vacations back in school, I realise that one word that I associate with these holidays is ‘voluntary’. Read to find out why.

Summer vacations in colleges are certainly ‘voluntary’. For two months students are left without subordination, projects or stress about studying. Unlike school vacations, one does not have to worry about constant supervision by parents or heavy load of holiday homework. These two months college vacations are your own to enjoy, work, read, study, play, travel or catch up on your favourite shows.

Despite being unsupervised, these vacations do not remain as carefree as one expects them to be. Himanika Agarwal, from Gargi College said, “College vacations bring a load of insecurity along with them, I am always curious to know what my friends and classmates are doing. Some are doing internships, some are completing language courses, everyone around me is doing something productive and that pushes me to also take part in something which enhances my CV.” Along with her, many others also feel that there is an intense pressure of not letting your vacations go to waste.

On the other hand, Praachi Ratra, from Jesus and Mary College said that she is grateful for this time of peace because she was able to utilise it to go on a trip with her group of girlfriends. She added “My school friends and I have been planning this trip since our boards ended, but that time is too hectic and we didn’t get enough time throughout the year., Tthis summer vacation gave us the opportunity to actually go on that trip and fulfill our dream.”

Comparing them to schools’ summer vacations, Gaurvi Rustagi from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies added that these vacations are far more relieving and relaxing. According to her, she has been successfully able to utilise this time for her artistic tendencies and complete her volunteering at an NGO.

Many students also feel ecstatic when they get a chance to go back to their hometown for a longer and unrestricted period of time. Students who come to the University from far away cities believe that the summer vacations bring with them a remedy to their long established homesickness and make them ready for another year in Delhi.

For many, this year’s summer vacation might be the last vacation they have in (or outside) the University. Post this, they might end up navigating through the boulders of life; getting a routine job or prepping for a competitive examination. So, utilise this vacation to the fullest. Do not hold back from exploring new interests or polishing your old ones. Go intern for a new experience or travel to create new memories. Breathe in the positivity of doing nothing, or stay busy with load of projects. Wake up every morning with a purpose, because this time never comes back.

Feature Image Credits: Sakshi Arora for DU Beat

Sakshi Arora

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This winter vacations, certain reasons best left to the vivid imagination of the reader, have prevented me from flying back home. Therefore, as I write this down, I find myself stranded in the hostel: a captive of my own hapless circumstances.

But last night, I had an epiphany. You see, as an outstation student of Delhi University, any break, no matter how long or short has always meant a trip back home. So for the last two and a half years, travelling to me has equalled boarding an Indigo flight on the Delhi-Visakhapatnam corridor and back. But when you have the freedom of a collegiate life, travelling shouldn’t be so monotonous! Rather, it should be spontaneous and unexpected, like backpacking away to new destinations with friends or traversing solo through unknown lands in the process of self-discovery.

So when I awoke this morning, I had an agenda: to take a solo road trip. After many hours of research, spent beaming at the computer screen and bothering Google with my travelling queries, I have perfected a list of ‘The top 5 places worthy of your resources this winter season’. Here goes:

For the Cold-Averse
If Delhi winter has you shuddering and quivering at its mercy, you’re best off avoiding any and all places north of the national capital. Therefore, try Rajasthan, which presents the following gems:

1. Udaipur

‘The City of Lakes’, Udaipur is all about elegance and magnificence. Touted as ‘The Venice of the East’, Udaipur is capable of stirring romantic feels in the steeliest of hearts. Even when you’re here on your own, you must take in the vibrant culture and history of the city. You could visit City Palace, Lake Pichola, and Fateh Sagar Lake.  You could also sign up for the Old City Cycle Tour.  September-March is the best time to visit Udaipur, making this deal even more alluring.

2. Mandawa

A mere 271 kms from Delhi, Mandawa is ideal for satisfying your artsy streak. The Mandawa Fort is the most popular tourist destination. But you can also visit the numerous havelis and castles that dot the landscape. For a taste of the royal Shekhawati life that is spoken of in such high value, do give Mandawa a visit.

3. Jaipur

How can one not visit Jaipur when in Rajasthan? It takes round-about 4-5 hours to get to Jaipur from Delhi. Once there, you can satisfy the history buff in you by treating yourself to the palaces, forts,   and temples. Go a step further in self-indulgence and shop and eat to your heart’s content at the local markets.  If you can afford to take some time out in January, then also catch the Jaipur Literature Festival from 19-23rd January.

For the Cold-Loving
For the truly brave hearted, who can not only handle, but rejoice in the Northern winter chill, the Himalayan hills offer the best getaways:

4. McLeodganj

Whoever said that hill stations are meant for only summer holidays? If you find yourself in McLeodganj in December, you could trek up to Guna Devi or take the Kangra Valley Trekking tour. You could also enrol for the Cycle Tour of Kangra Valley. For sightseeing, visit Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang, Tibetan Museum, Bhagsunath Temple, Bhagsu Falls, Church of St.Johns,  Dharamkot Kareri Lake and Kangra Fort. Wow! So much in one tiny part of Dharamshala!


Unlike Mussorie, Shimla and Nainital, Lansdowne is untouched and unspoilt by rampant tourism. Located just 248 kms off Delhi, Lansdowne is known for its picturesque landscape, old colonial bungalows,  sunrise and sunset points, rare views of the Himalayas and Ganga and trekking activities. If you’re a foodie, you can additionally enjoy the delicious baked goodies(quiches, cookies and cakes!) that the many cafeterias and bakeries have on offer. A warm cuppa with a muffin, warmly snuggled inside a blanket in a wooden café: My Garfield moment.

My solitude in the hostel as the lone inmate made me want to disappear. But looking down at my list now,  I realise that you don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination. And now, I have five of the very best!

I’m off! Anyone care to join?

Feature Image:  quotefancy.com

Kriti Sharma
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Three students from St Stephen’s college along with a private resort owner drowned in Periyar river in Kerala’s Ernakulam district and lost their lives, Friday evening.

Anubhav Chandra from Bihar, Aditya Patel from Uttar Pradesh and Kenneth Jose from Kerala’s Wayanad were on a college trip accompanied by two female wardens. Anubhav and Aditya were third year students from the Department of Sanskrit, while Kenneth was a first years student from Chemistry.

The three had left their group to visit the location by the side of a private resort on Friday evening. They were accompanied by Benny Abraham, who owned the resort. The incident occurred at Paniyeli Poru, a tourist spot where the river has dangerous clusters of slippery rocks, near Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district. It has been reported that one of the four slipped into the river and the other two jumped to save him. Upon failing to do so Abraham, the resort owner who was familiar with the water also jumped, but lost his life while trying to save others. Abraham’s daughter is also a student of St Stephen’s College.

John Varghese, principal of the college addressing the incident said, “This is a moment of great sorrow for us. This was part of college trip. A warden was accompanying the children.They went away from the group. One student was drowning and others died while saving him”. He also reassured that the college would assist the parents concerned in all its capacity.
The three students were a part of the Malayalam Literary Society, which organises a trip to Kerala every year. The spot where the incident happened had warning signposts too. According to the police, the spot is known for its death traps for tourists because of strong undercurrents, though the water is only few feet deep. The bodies of all four have been recovered and taken to the Taluk hospital at Perumbavoor.

According to students, Aditya and Anubhav were very close friends. A condolence meet had also been planned for Saturday morning .

With inputs from NDTV.com

Tooba Towfiq

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The only thing which motivates us to give exams is that they will end soon after! Here is a list of the things you can add to your post exam bucket list!

Go Cycling! – Honestly, winter is the loveliest time in New Delhi. It gives us the opportunities to go out in the open and do things which become rather difficult in the summers due to the raging heat. Hence, cycling in the winter is a great activity to do as a group or all alone. Central Delhi is an open, cycle friendly part of Delhi, where you can see numerous joggers and cyclers every morning. So, rent a cycle, take it out, and ride all across India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Lodhi Gardens, Connaught Place, Janpath and tread your own path back home the same way.

Visit Majnu Ka Tila – Winters also bless us with the opportunity to explore places in Delhi which we would find difficult to spend our time in during the summer. Near Delhi University’s North Campus, we can find Majnu Ka Tila, a Tibetan refugee settlement which boasts of great shopping deals and lip smacking food. Take time out and visit Ama Cafe for their delicious cakes, bakes and coffee. Spot the street vendors selling La Phing, and indulge in a comforting bowl of it. Taste amazing Tibetan, Nepali, Khasi and Garo cuisines and you won’t return disappointed!

Visit Chandni Chowk – I can tell you this much with certainty that most of the people living in Delhi have never been to Chandni Chowk and seen the whole complex. Winters is the perfect time to go to Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazar, Jama Masjid, The Red Fort and explore the sights around the place. Start with a morning trip to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib or Gurudwara Shishganj, pay your respects, and have some ghee dripping halwa. Then set out to explore the markets and get yourself anything you wish, Chandni Chowk markets boast to have ‘all that one may need’. Visit the Paranthe wali galli, have some Daulat ki Chaat, kachori sabzi and end it off with jalebis, kulfis and phirnis. A trip to Chandni Chowk and cover your whole day.

Visit the Daryaganj Book Market – And now, we have something for all you bookworms out there. Winter, again, is a perfect time to visit the famed Sunday Daryaganj Book Market where one can buy classics at a throwaway rate. Starting at Delite Cinema, the rows of stalls have everything that a book-lover or student could wish to find, dictionaries, NCERT books, second-hand books, manga, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels; just name it. You might, however, have to really work to find a specific book. If you’re just on a visit, the range will lure you into buying a lot more than you planned to, so go prepared.

Happy Holidays! Go knock yourself out after exams.

Featured image credits: Pintrest 

Joyee Bhattacharya

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With temperatures soaring up to 47 degrees and most parts of India being engulfed by the devilish summer heat, a getaway to the Himalayas can never be overrated. Regardless of the brutal temperatures in other areas, this region seems insulated from the heat and perfect temperatures reign throughout the summer. Of the many beautiful places to choose from, Darjeeling which has aptly been called the “Queen of the Hills,’ should be on top of your holiday itinerary this summer! While any travel magazine or website may provide a generic insight into this place, here’s a local’s report of her hometown!

1. Nepali Cuisine

Nepali Thali
Nepali Thali ( Image credits: https://kellysiew.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/thakali-thali-set.jpg )

People of Darjeeling pride themselves over the delectable local cuisine, which ranges from a full-fledged Nepali thali to the spiciest street food. An average Nepali thali comprises rice and dal along with an assortment of side dishes including sukuti (dried fish), sidra (another dried fish), gundruk (fermented saag) and the infamous kinema (fermented soya bean, which takes the nose some ‘getting-used-to’).
However, as always, the street food is the real showstopper! Although in the pan-Indian scene, the momo has overshadowed its eminence, Darjeeling’s famous aloo-dum, is a local favourite! Obviously the Indian favourite – momo, has its origins in this quaint little town. But beware! The momo-mayo combination here is not only unheard of but, close to blasphemy.
Then there’s the sel-roti (a type of bread which you have to try to know what it is), phaley (Tibetan bread), thukpa (noodles in soup) and so much more waiting for you in Darjeeling.
I could ramble on all day about the local food, but I have a list to complete!

2. Music in the city

Saraangi performance (Image Credits: http://im.hunt.in/cg/Darjeeling/City-Guide/music.jpg )

We are a music-loving lot!
Although the Darjeeling carnival happens in winter, music performances on the streets are not uncommon here. And if you’re lucky, you may witness a ‘saarangi’ performance as well. A ‘saarangi’ is a local instrument, somewhat like a violin but with a very distinct sound. For all the rock and jazz lovers, there are many pubs with local bands performing live music lining the streets. A lot of musical talent erupts from here, and you have to be here to soak in the glorious ambiance.

3. For the Adventure-Junkies!

Sandakphu ( Image Credits: http://www.airtraveller.org/media/reviews/photos/original/b2/ba/2b/Sandakphu-2-73-1417767135.jpg )

To kill the mundane, an adventure seeker should definitely visit Darjeeling! The local Himalayan Mountaineering Institute offers courses on rock-climbing and conducts expeditions to Sandakphu, a nearby village which has the shortest aerial distance from Mt. Everest. Apart from that, one can hike to nearby places including – Tiger Hill where you can witness the most beautiful sunrises. Bikes can also be hired to soar along remote roads rich in landscape and one can also paraglide over town. For lesser adventurous individuals, a morning jog around the scenic Mall Road may also prove a memorable experience.

4. Shopping

Shopping (Image Credits: http://www.sinclairshotels.com/assets/images/darjeeling/sightseeing/selfhelp_centre.jpg )

Tourists often pick up mementos to take back home in order to reminisce their eventful vacation and luckily, Darjeeling abounds in such knick-knacks. The curio-shops here are veritable treasure houses where one can scavenge everything from – Tibetan Masks, jewelry, gems, traditional attire to the infamous weapon of the Gorkhas- the khukuri! On the hand, art or any handicraft enthusiast should definitely take home a ‘thanka,’ a valuable scroll painting depicting Buddhist gods.

5. The people


But what is a town without its people? Needless to say, in keeping with the vibrancy of the town, its inhabitants are equally as friendly and welcoming. Striking up a conversation with locals at pubs or at Chowrasta (a meeting place of sorts) couldn’t be easier and proves rather helpful to the enthusiastic traveler.
The people are the real gems here, and it is they who can guide you to the best bakery in town or the cheapest haunt for local ‘daaru’ (it’s called ‘tongba’).

Lastly, in case you couldn’t keep up with the entire local lingo that this article abounds in then, that is just one more reason for you to visit Darjeeling this summer!

Swareena Gurung

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Winter vacation’s utility rests in sleeping in the bed the entire day? Maybe yes, but maybe there lies something before or beyond it. While some hone their skills and others delve into reflection, there are many who create an amazing blend of both. Here is a list of five things you need to do in order to spend a versatile vacation:

  1. Experiencing something new

    This seems to be the most clichéd of the things you would want to do in a vacation but holds true for every vacation. You might have certain ambitions and dreams before joining college that should have been fulfilled by now. You actual self is the one who should have achieved all those things. Be it a better social life or the want to have spiritual solitariness, a new musical instrument or a better intellect, vacation is indeed the time to work towards your actual self if it hasn’t been achieved.

  2. Preparing yourself for a new semester

    Think that your previous semester could have been better socially, academically, spiritually or philosophically? Then there is not a better time to prepare yourself but a vacation. You can be a better and efficient member of your respective society in college or perhaps be academically better at the background to every major topic to come in the coming semester’s syllabus. Preparation works in every realm.

  3. Experimenting

    The need to experiment with a lot of things comes right in the middle of a semester a lot of times. The need of that hour is to defer the gratification of experimenting then because hastiness may kill the utility of it. A vacation is the best time to drop scepticism about a lot of things and bring it for others. Experimentation is the name of the game. Trying something you’ve always dreaded or testing yourself at a venture would fulfil this aspect.

  4. Working on your fitness

    This area should mainly involve focusing on your fitness goals and if not fully, partially changing your current fitness levels. This could involve making your fitness levels plummet or to take them to another level. A change in fitness levels, ‘improving’ or ‘deteriorating’ them distinctively, generically speaking, is a marker of your perceived activity during a vacation.

  5. Bringing balance to life

    This could involve bringing consistency to what others call ‘an imbalanced life’ so that ultimately it appears to be balanced or afterall working towards the conventional sense of a balanced life.

Featured Image Credits: www.hercampus.com

Sidharth Yadav
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Summer vacations, in this relative world are a good time to get ahead of that person in class, fellow debater in the debating society or you. The learning done behind the curtains and entertainment through books that goes alongside watching Game of Thrones in vacations is, after all the one that makes the actual difference. Here is a list of ideal reads that not only celebrates the private space that we share with books but is sure to add flavour to the season:

1. ‘The Girl on that Train’ by Paula Hawkins

Image Credits- espngrantland.files.wordpress.com
Image Credits- espngrantland.files.wordpress.com

Filled with shocking twists, this book is already being deemed as one of the best psychological thrillers of 2015. Narrated by three characters, metaphorically related to each other, the book revolves around the search for Megan, one of the main characters, who suddenly disappears. Other characters, in quest for finding the truth behind her disappearance, constantly lie to each other, which ultimately makes the truth harder to find.

2. ‘The Boys in the Boat’ by Daniel James Brown

Image Credits- blogcritics.org
Image Credits- blogcritics.org

This book is about how a University of Washington 8-oared crew which represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics Berlin won the gold medal. The book largely focuses on the lives of the crew members, whose low middle class origins in the times of the Great Depression prevent them from entering the university. The book also has the backdrop of Nazism growing in Germany and also reveals the politics that were behind organising the Olympics.

3. ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir

Image Credits- cne2.com
Image Credits- cne2.com

A science fiction novel, The Martian revolves around an American astronaut who is stranded on Mars and must find ways to survive after his spacecraft had to exit from Mars’ atmosphere due to a dust storm. His hope in life makes him survive all the odds when finally the NASA realises that he is still alive.

4. ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr


Image Credits- anniephotosonline.com
Image Credits- anniephotosonline.com

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the plot is set in the World War 2 Germany occupied France where the paths of a blind French woman and an orphaned German soldier cross. The book juggles with time as the story oscillates in the progressive movement of the plot.

5. ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking ’ by Susan Cain

Image Credits- simplerpastimes.file.wordpress.com
Image Credits- simplerpastimes.file.wordpress.com

Susan in her book shows how devaluing introverts in the current pandemonium of venerating the extroverts destroys a part of the society. The book has examples of introverts who have made a mark in the world and is sure to change your opinion of the people who love staying ‘quiet’.

Featured Image Credits- asamandlouise.com

Sidharth Yadav

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“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!”  – Kenny Chesney.

Summer is mangoes and grandmothers, summer is long afternoons and lemonade…summer is the ideal getaway.

So, where are you headed to?  To grandma’s courtyard of childhood memories or the mountains which beckon with their chill laden breeze? The seaside if you crave tans and burns or just your bed with a great book to read? And then there are those with day long internships, not to forget the right-after-exams summer schools in tow. What then is the ideal summer? What’s your sweet escape?

Here, after long consultations with friends, foes and other animals, is the perfect summer recipe. Your kind of summer, with your kind of spice!

For the conventional:

As put by a former Outlook Traveller editor, hill stations are a swirl of social, commercial and political energy -and garbage and cement. Hence, off the beaten track we go. On the hit list is Paro, a tranquil retreat in that country of happy people- Bhutan. (Travel tip- traveling to Bhutan doesn’t require passports and visas if the North Bengal road route is taken). But, for us lone backpackers and shoe-string budget students, if Paro be struck off the list, take to the scenic lake town of Mirik and not Darjeeling, to Landour and Dhanaulti for sun and sport and not Mussoorie, to Munshiyari and not Shimla. Make it a memorable summer, like Rusty, with deodar and pine.

For the experimental:

Absolutely recommended is a cruise down the Sunderbans, it’s different, it’s great!

Why wait?

For the busy, for us:

In the middle of those summer classes and CAT preparations, find an extended weekend and pack that lousy backpack. Board a dusty bus and clear your muddled head. For this breakaway trip, we recommend students’ hostels, an example being Zostel- the student friendly travel and accommodation start-up. With great destinations and greater experiences, this is your economy package. Not your Rusty summer but a Kipling, perhaps.

And if you were that workaholic intern, make getaways within the city itself. It’s a beautiful mosaic, of the old and the new. Walk by the Lodi tombs, walk to St. James Church. In spite of the heat, this city has great haunts.

For the lazy, for all:

Stay home, have lemonade, sweat the summer away.

Go to the beach- bathe, relax, burn, bathe.

Go to the mountains, forget your phone behind.

Vacationing is not about trains and planes; vacationing is taking time off.


I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” – Keats


And that is why the summer matters.


Alankrita Anand

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Image credits:  imgkid.com