Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Oct 31, 2013


Imperial summer residences of Peterhof and Pushkin were on our sightseeing schedule today. Both are situated outside the city limits. First we headed to Peterhof.

Originally, Peter the Great had built the Monplaisir Palace here.

Monplaisir Palace, St. Petersburg

Monplaisir Palace & the Gulf of Finland

Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, the Monplaisir is an unassuming baroque mansion. 

But it is complete with park, gardens, and fountains, which use gravity to bring water to them from the springs located on the higher side of the site.

Monplaisir Palace, St. Petersburg 

Monplaisir Palace, St. Petersburg

Monsplaisir also had some trick fountains. One trick fountain turned on as soon as someone stepped on the stones to reach the nearby benches to sit on them. The other went on when someone attempts check out the out-of-season tulips. Either way, the unsuspecting guest got drenched with the sudden shower of water!

 A Trick Fountain, Monsplaisir Palace, St. Petersburg

Peter’s granddaughter, Empress Elizabeth expanded the park and the fountain system. Further expansions and additions were brought about later by other czars.

Today this large estate contains other buildings, gardens, pavilions and avenues as well.
Grand Palace, Peterhof, St. Petersburg


Sculptured Gardens, Peterhof, St. Petersburg


Sculptured Gardens. Peterhof, St. Petersburg
Sculptured Gardens. Peterhof, St. Petersburg 
Eve Fountain, Peterhof, St. Petersburg

 Gazebo, Peterhof, St. Petersburg

 An Avenue, Peterhof, St. Petersburg

The breathtaking central part of the fountain system, which is known as the Great Cascade, unites 64 fountains, 255 sculptures and decorative elements, and is one of the best features of this palace.
Great Cascade, Peterhof, St. Petersburg

 Great Cascade, Peterhof, St. Petersburg

 Great Cascade, Peterhof, St. Petersburg

Great Cascade, Peterhof, St. Petersburg
The Great Cascade terminates into a canal, which is lined on both sides with more fountains.
 Canal lined with fountains, Peterhof, St. Petersburg
This pride and joy of the Romanov Royals was badly ravaged during the WWII. But it was one of the first projects to be renovated. All renovations were completed by 1947.
To add to the pleasant experience of the tourists, there were individuals dressed in period costumes to pose with them for photos, but for a price.
And, like everywhere, along with tourists, there were also vendors selling all kind of souvenirs.

Oct 30, 2013


Formerly known as Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar's Village), the Catherine Palace is situated at Pushkin, 25 km south of St Petersburg.

Catherine Palace, Pushkin, Russia

A Gate, Catherine Palace, Pushkin, Russia


Surrounded by a gilded wrought-iron fence and gates,...



Formal Gardens, Catherine Palace, Pushkin, Russia
 and with formal gardens in front,...

this magnificent turquoise, white and gold Palace was built by Empress Elizabeth,...


Queen Elizabeth of Russia (Open Stock Photo)

on the land presented by Peter the Great in 1710...

Peter the Great (Open Stock Photo)
to his wife, who later became Catherine I. 
Catherine I (From a Painting)

One enters the Palace by the State Staircase.
 State Staircase, Catherine Palace, Pushkin
Rooms include the world-famous the Grand Hall,...

Grand Hall, Catherine Palace, Pushkin

...a ballroom,...
  Ballroom, Catherine Palace, Pushkin (Open Stock Photo)

drawing room,...


Blue Dining Room, Catherine Palace, Pushkin

and dining rooms, as well as...

White Dining Room, Catherine Palace, Pushkin
 the private quarters. 
Private Quarters, Catherine Palace, Pushkin
The Palace also has a world-renowned Amber Hall. Photography in it is not permitted.

Catherine Palace has some of the most beautiful Russian Baroque interiors. Also it has elegant furniture and its walls and ceilings are decorated with paintings and ornamentations made by the best artists of those times.
A Wall Decoration, Catherine Palace, Pushkin
A Ceiling, Catherine Palace, Pushkin
 Walls & Furniture, Catherine Palace, Pushkin
Walls & Furniture, Catherine Palace, Pushkin 

 Walls & Furniture, Catherine Palace, Pushkin

 A Desk, Catherine Palace, Pushkin

Oct 28, 2013


For the last couple of days, our hotel in St. Petersburg has been flooded with more a couple of thousand Muay Thai (Thai-style Kick Boxing) athletes from around the word, gathered here for a championship competition. Many of them had starved themselves for a few days for the weigh-in last night. Therefore this morning at the complimentary breakfast, they were devouring everything in sight. The staff was having hard time refilling buffet dishes.

With tickets in our hands, after lunch, we headed to the train station, to board our high speed train to Moscow.
High Speed Train Ticket
Waiting Room, St. Petersburg Station
Waiting Room, St. Petersburg Station

Platform, St. Petersburg Station
 Platforms St. Petersburg Station

Waiting for the Arrival of the High Speed Train
High Speed Train, St. Petersburg to Moscow
The train covers a distance of 650 kilometer in 4-1/2 hours, with four one- to two-minute stops on the way. On account of difficulty upgrading the train-track, the Siemens-built trains run below their 250 kilometers per hour speed capacity.
The train is has free Wi-Fi, and a dining car. Also, a vending cart makes a couple of rounds through the carriages selling drinks, and food.
Luggage is x-rayed before one enters the platform. Passports and tickets are checked upon entry to the carriages.


St. Petersburg Train Station, Moscow
Upon our arrival at the Moscow station, we boarded our bus.

It took us about 1-1/2 hours to cover the distance of 5 kilometers to our hotel, because of congested roads.

In the evening, we received orientation to the Moscow Metro. As a part of our orientation, we boarded four different trains, at four different stations.

With 11 lines and more than 180 stations, Moscow Metro is one of the world's busiest rapid transit systems.

Moscow Metro Ticket Office (L) & Train (R)

Passengers in a Moscow Metro Carriage

And designed to glorify Soviet Russia, Stations have been built with reflective marble walls, high ceilings, and chandeliers.

 Moscow Metro Train Stations

 Moscow Metro Train Stations

Adorned with sculptures and mosaic floors and paintings, Moscow’s Metro Stations are unique works of art.

Moscow Metro Station Art
Our Metro orientation ended at the Theater Square. Then out in the cool and drizzling weather we wandered around the Red Square. We happened to be there at a time of military marching bands parading around to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the failure of the Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812.
Bolshoi Theater, Moscow
Around Red Square, Moscow