The Mehtab Bagh Agra literally means moonlight garden. This famous garden built on four quartered garden system, lies north to the Iconic Taj Mahal across the river Yamuna. During the Mughal era Agra city had a great fame of being the capital and garden city. Most of the Mughal rulers were fond of open air places, fountains and lush green fountains just to avoid the scorching heat.
Babur – Great Lover of Gardens
The first Mughal emperor Babur was great lover of gardens. After laying the foundations of Mughal dynasty, he enriched the city of Agra by making 16 gardens on the bank of the river Yamuna – like Aram Bagh, Bagh-E-Gul, Apshana, Mehtab Bagh etc. Out of all these only 2 are remaining now- Aram Bagh known as Ram Bagh and the Mehtab Bagh.
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Mehtab Bagh – Babur’s Dream Project
The chronicles say that Babur started a dream project of Mehtab Bagh in 1529 and this was his last garden. He wanted to make it on the theme of the Paradise gardens with the rippling water Channels, water cascades, fountains and trees laden with seasinal fruits and flowers.
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History of the Mehtab Bagh
The legends say that Babur used to come and visit the Mehtab Bagh during the leisure times in the night. Day time he was preparing for the visit of Aram Bagh which is hardly 5 kms away on the bank of the river Yamuna. This was continued during the time of Humayun who used to pay visit to it as he used to come to pray in a nearby mosque at the Kacchpura village built by him.
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Contemporary historians of the time of Sha jahan thnk that Shah Jahan also chose this garden site where the river makes a crescent shape . After the completion of the Taj Mahal he used to visit this garden patch in the moonlight nights. From this garden he used to capture the memories of his paramour Mumtaz Mahal in the form of the Taj Mahal.
Thus Mehtab Bagh was reformed and restored during the time of Shah Jahan by making the walkways, airy Pavilions and fountains. These gardens were having the affinity to the gardens of the Taj Mahal.
Is the site of Mehtab Bagh the black Taj Mahal foundations?
Lots of questions are raised about the story of the Black Taj Mahal. The stories say that right across the river Yamuna at the site of Mehtab Bagh, Shah Jahan was dreaming of making the black Taj Mahal- a negative copy of the white Taj Mahal. These legends attributed to the travel memoirs of the French traveler Jean Baptist Travernier who come in the17th century and records that Shah Jahan wanted to make a black Taj Mahal for himself similar to the white one.
Some people also agree on the basis of the research done by A.C.L Carlleyle in 1871, in which he opines the excavated pond to be the part of the foundation of the black Taj Mahal. Besides these two vague ideas there are no historic evidences as such to consider the area of the Mehtab Bagh as the site of the black Taj Mahal project.
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When Mehtab Bagh was excavated?
After the decline period of the Mughal dynasty there happened much local enroachment in the Mehtab Bagh and many great floods inundated the whole site. At one point there was no proof of the Mehtab Bagh and the garden area was having huge mound of sand with unusual growth of wild flora, when the Archaeological Survey of India planned into the task of restoring these gardens in 1990 A.D.
How to Reach Mehtab Bagh?
Mehtab Bagh can easily be reached by car or by coach. It is located close to Kachhpura village and taking Yamuna kinara Road and crossing the Ambedkar bridge, you can reach the Mehtab Bagh. You can also come to this place via Etmad-Ud-Daula Road. It is nearly 3 kms from the Agra fort and 5 kms from the Taj Mahal. You can easily get there by hiring tuk-tuk or electric rickshaw.
Mehtab Bagh Timings
Mehtab Bagh remains open from sunrise to the sunset. Good time to visit this garden during the summer time is 6 AM to 8 AM and 5 PM to 6 PM. During the winter perfect time to visit is 8 AM to 11 AM and 4 to 5 PM.
Mehtab Bagh Entry Charges
|Indian National||INR 30/-|
|Foreign National||INR 300/-|
|Nationals of SAARC||INR 30/-|
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What to expect in Mehtab Bagh Agra?
Mehtab Bagh is a fine specimen of Mughal Gardening and horticulture where more than 80 varieties of plants and shrubs are planted. These floras include hibiscus, guava, neem, bahunia, Ashoka etc. They are planted in a sequence where the tall trees follow the short and then shrubs are given place. Such arrangement of plants is eye catching and above all the serene atmosphere and awesome view of the Taj Mahal mesmerize the tourists. Some of the plants produce multi coloured flowers and these shine in the sunlight and moonlight like the glittering stones of the Taj Mahal.
What Makes Mehtab Bagh Famous?
The most popular is the sunset view of theTaj Mahal from Mehtab bagh. The local Administration made a Taj Mahal viewing platform recently where one can gaze at the beauty of the Taj Mahal on the full moon in case one is not able to get the permission to go inside the Taj Mahal on the full moon.
Mehtab Bagh plays a significant role for those tourists who come to Agra just for one day and unluckily it is Friday on that day. As you know Taj Mahal remains closed on Friday, thus Mehtab Bagh gives the option to view the Taj Mahal and it’s magnificent glory from the other side of the river. This is t the point where you can make Instagram worthy pictures or enjoy the sunrise or the sunset at the Taj Mahal.
Things Not Allowed to carry inside Mehtab Bagh Agra
You can carry mobile phone and camera inside to Mehtab Bagh. Like other archeological monuments you are not allowed to carry eatables, smoking items, alcohol, tripod, books, and magazines etc.
Flying drone camera and commercial photography (without permission) is restricted from this area.