Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Englisher Garten. Photo: Rachna Sharma Sirtaj

Rachna Sharma Sirtaj
Name:  Rachna Sharma Sirtaj

Where are you from, originally?
India. My grandparents originate from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. I was born in Madhya Pradesh, grew up in Andhra Pradesh and set up home in Karnataka before moving to Munich.

How long have you lived in Munich ?
8 years.

What do you do?
I am a counselor, past life regression therapist, clinical hypnotherapist and a trainer for personal, emotional and spiritual growth. I also write a blog on self – development. I also have Facebook pages where a person can find motivation, inspiration, share ideas and meet like-minded friends. 

Where can we see your work? 
My Blog: Motivatedsoul
My Facebook Page/s : Motivational Thoughts
  Rachna Sirtaj Therapy
My website: Motivated Soul
What is Munich famous for?

  • Munich is known for its proximity to the Alps and has an abundance of lakes in and around its vicinity. It has a serene and modern outlook without being flashy. It is an important historical city that is proud to have many old structures which still stand intact. The old city still exists between the 4 Türen (4 Gates). Many old buildings right in the heart of Munich are being used commercially, so it is a breeze to walk in and feel the history. Historically Munich has a huge relevance as this is literally hailed as the birthplace of Nazism. Hitler moved to Munich in 1913, and started his propaganda from here. Later Dachau the concentration camp was set up outside the city. Munich is also the place where Hitler gave his infamous speeches to rile up the masses and propagate his Nazi views. I personally see the city as a serene woman that has many secrets hidden within her heart. 
  • Another fun fact is that the book Book Thief ( Markus Zusak) was based in Munich and its suburbs.
  • Munich is also known for Oktoberfest, the beer festival, which traditionally starts in the third week of September and ends on the first Sunday of October. This traditional fest started  with the Royal wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa on 12th October 1810. This was the time when local breweries created and brought beer to the wedding. Since then it has turned into a huge fest each year that generates a big amount of revenue for the City.
3 best kept secrets of Munich that only the locals are aware of
  • Well, first and foremost, if you are here to get a feel of the day-to-day life in Munich, then start from the airport. Never take a cab to reach the city. Underneath the airport you will find the superb suburban train services that will cost you a fraction of the price that you would have paid for the taxi and will bring you into the city under an hour…without getting stuck in traffic jams.
  • Go to Viktualienmarket to buy/taste the freshest of fresh produce — cheese, pickles, spices, wine and more.
  • Do visit the Olympia park and Luitpold park, both of which are created/landscaped from the rubble of the buildings that were destroyed in WWII. Feel the somberness when you reach the top of the hill and see the cross that stands there, in memory of those who lost their lives. 
3 foods that one should taste in Munich and where can you find it?
  • Bratwurst — it's sausage made from pork in a natural casing and is grilled or fried in a pan. It is a favorite in Germany, with each region having its own specialty.
  • Dönner Kabab — it's a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. It is normally made out of lamb but also a mixture of veal or beef and sometimes chicken too. Indians might recognize its Arabic name — shawarma.
  • Cheese cake — Most bakeries and restaurants offer them 
3 best places to shop
  • Maximmillian strasse: A street lined with designer stores and beautiful displays.
  • Kaufinger strasse: A pedestrian street right in the heart of the city. You can find departmental stores like Kaufhof, Karstadt and larger clothes and accessory stores like United Colurs of Benetton, Mango, Forever 21 etc. This street has plenty of restaurants, breweries and bakeries.
  • Schwabing: Close to the University, center of the city and Englisher Garten, Schwabing is hep and young and has trendy young stores that cater to various tastes.
3 sights one should definitely see in Munich
  • Olympia Park — The tragic 1972 Olympic games were held here.
  • Englisher Garten — A beautiful park right in the center of the city occupying about 4 kms of space. River Isar flows through the park and makes it a beautiful haven in all seasons. 
  • Dachau — The concentration camp lies in the suburbs of Munich. It gives a grim view into the life of the prisoners/Jews, during the WWII
3 things a traveller should know about Munich
  • The public transport system is extensive, very safe and reasonably priced. Most days its up and running from 4 am until 2 am.
  • You can find varied cuisines in the city (if you do your homework well). You can easily find food that is totally vegetarian.
  • Müncheners are a friendly and helpful lot.  You can get by using English on a short trip, but if you are here long term then it is necessary to understand and speak Germany. Remember to learn the local greeting (Gruss Gott — it's the Bavarian local greeting and it literally means, May God greet you), and use it with a smile. It is always appreciated.
Oktoberfest. Photo credit:

3 things a traveller should do in Munich
  • Watch a movie in Olympia park — open air
  • If possible attend the Oktober fest. If your trip does not cover that time of the year then find a Sommer fest or a Winter fest or the Fruhlings fest. We celebrate the seasons by organizing a festival with typical fair-like atmosphere.
  • Try the local cuisine, cheese and the wide variety of beer.
3 German phrases that a traveller should know and can come handy.
  • Bitte – (pronounced Bee-tt-te) Please
  • Danke (pronounced – Daan-ke) – Thank you
  • Entshuldigen Sie Bitte (pronounced ent-shu-l-di-gan  - See – Bee-tt-te) – Excuse me, please.
3 things to take back from Munich
  •      Hand made leather wallets for coins
  •     Pickles, dry meat, hand made chocolates, Gummy bears, Marzipan
  •     Cuckoo clocks