Mehtab Bagh, AgraMehtab Bagh translates to ‘Moonlight Garden’. The garden is shaped like a crescent and is the last of eleven gardens made by the Mughal Empire on the Yamuna riverfronts. The Mehtab Bagh gives a beautiful view of the back of Taj Mahal from a distance. Standing barely 300 meters from the garden wall, this is the place to have a full view of the garden. The symmetry of the garden enhances the look of the Taj. Per historical manuals, many more such gardens in the vicinity could not survive the time. There were minarets on the four corners of the garden, out of which only the one on the south side of the garden remains that too is broken.
History of Mehtab Bagh
Mehtab Bagh has an interesting history. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Babur during his reign in the early 1500s. Later Shah Jahan, upon realizing the breathtaking view the Taj would make from here, chose the site for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal’s mausoleum. The Mehtab Bagh was originally designed in the Mughal era’s favorite Charbagh style - a Persian style layout divided into four parts. The garden is built in a square piece of land of 300 meters on all four sides. The garden was divided with the lanes of white walkways, and large fountains with water pools and spacious pavilions filled with colorful fruit trees. The garden has a stepped fountain in the north, the water from which feeds an octagonal pond located on the south of the garden and aptly named Reflection Pond. Reflection of the Taj in this pond is a splendid sight. On the eastern side is a large pond that has channels to circulate water around the garden. Sandstone domes, temples, ponds, statues, are some other structures for the photographers to create perfect pictures.
In the Early 1900s, however, the beautiful gardens were reduced to a huge mound of sand, by frequent floods and misuse of facilities. ASI (Archeological Survey of India) in a quest to find the story behind the black Taj Mahal myth re-discovered the Mughal Gardens. ASI later started working towards the restoration of gardens to regain their original glory by planting hibiscus, guava, and citrus trees to make it look like how it did during Shah Jahan’s time.
Best Time to Visit Mehtab Bagh
During spring, autumn, and winter, the garden blooms to its best and regains its original glory. It is a sight to behold when the Yamuna is full of water, and the Taj is reflected in its serene waters. The garden wears different charm in each season.
Early sunrise or the sunset is the best time to catch up with the Taj Mahal and take a stroll or two while seeing the sun change colors and enjoy the cool breeze from the Yamuna. The garden looks beautiful during this time and turns into photographers’ delight, presenting photo ops in myriad colors along with a different perspective of the Taj with manicured gardens, beautiful flowers, and trees in the foreground.
A short walk to the brick wall presents a splendid unobstructed look of the Taj along with the guest house and the mosque. The gardens are expansive and a good place for the kids to play and enjoy open spaces and fresh air.
Reasons to visit the Mehtab Bagh:• To see the Taj at sunset or sunrise. Both are mesmerizing views. An added attraction is the reflection of the Taj in the octagonal pond.
• Enjoy the garden. It is a good place for taking pictures, stroll and enjoying the cool evening breeze.
• Enjoy the camel rides outside the garden and on the roadside.
• The garden provides great angles of the Taj Mahal and awesome picture ops for the photography lovers.
• The road leading to the Mehtab Bagh is full of souvenir shops should you plan to take some of Agra along with you.Timings: 6 AM to 7 PM
Ticket price: For Indians: Rs. 25, for foreigners: Rs. 300, and for tourists from SAARC/BIMSTEC countries: Rs. 25.
Tips:1. Tripods of any kind are not allowed. Not even the camera tripods.
2. There are a lot of kids begging for money, please use your discretion in entertaining them. If you give money to one, others will also flock up to you.
3. Afternoons, especially in summer, are hot and humid and are not the best time to enjoy the gardens.
4. Months between October and February are the best to get a beautiful view under clear skies.
5. During the monsoon, the garden becomes muddy and uncomfortable. This is the best time to avoid Mehtab Bagh.
See More: Taj Mahal's Rules & Regulations