Mehtab Bagh, also known as the “Moonlight Garden,” is a historical garden complex located on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India. It is situated directly opposite the Taj Mahal, one of the most famous landmarks in the world, and provides a stunning view of the monument.
Mehtab Bagh was built during the Mughal era in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan, who also commissioned the construction of the Taj Mahal. It is believed that Mehtab Bagh was designed as a char bagh, a Persian-style garden with a quadrilateral layout divided into four equal parts, with the Taj Mahal as its focal point. The garden was used as a retreat and a place for relaxation for the Mughal royals, and it was also used as a viewing platform to admire the Taj Mahal at different times of the day.
The Mehtab Bagh garden complex spans over 25 acres and is laid out in a geometric pattern, with numerous pathways, fountains, and water channels. The garden is adorned with lush green lawns, flower beds, and various species of trees and plants, including citrus trees, guava trees, and sandalwood trees. The well-manicured lawns provide a serene and picturesque ambiance, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy leisurely strolls or have a picnic.
One of the main attractions of Mehtab Bagh is the panoramic view it offers of the Taj Mahal. Visitors can witness the Taj Mahal in all its splendor from across the Yamuna River, especially during sunset when the white marble monument changes color and glows in the warm light. The view from Mehtab Bagh is considered one of the best spots to capture stunning photographs of the Taj Mahal without the crowds that are usually present at the main Taj Mahal complex.
Mehtab Bagh has been restored and renovated over the years, and today it is managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It is open to visitors throughout the year and is a popular destination for tourists and photography enthusiasts who want to capture the Taj Mahal from a unique perspective.
Mehtab Bagh has a rich history that dates back to the Mughal era in India. The garden was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan, who was also responsible for the construction of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
During the 17th century, Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away in 1631. The Taj Mahal was completed in 1653, and it is said that Shah Jahan wanted to have a garden complex built on the opposite bank of the Yamuna River to provide an uninterrupted view of the Taj Mahal from across the river. This is believed to be the origin of Mehtab Bagh.
Mehtab Bagh was designed as a charbagh, which is a Persian-style garden with a quadrilateral layout divided into four equal parts, symbolizing the four rivers of Paradise in Islamic tradition. The garden was meticulously planned with pathways, fountains, and water channels, and it was adorned with various trees, plants, and flowers.
Historical accounts suggest that Mehtab Bagh was not only meant to provide a picturesque view of the Taj Mahal but also served as a retreat for the Mughal royals. It was a place where the emperor and his entourage could relax, enjoy the beauty of nature, and appreciate the Taj Mahal from a different perspective.
Over the centuries, Mehtab Bagh fell into neglect and was covered with vegetation. It was only in the 1990s that the garden was rediscovered and underwent restoration efforts by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to bring it back to its former glory. Today, Mehtab Bagh is a well-maintained garden complex that attracts tourists and visitors from all around the world who come to admire the breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal and immerse themselves in its historical significance.
Complete Travel Guide
Here’s a complete travel guide for visiting Mehtab Bagh in Agra, India:
Mehtab Bagh is located on the left bank of the Yamuna River, opposite the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) away from the Agra Fort and about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the Agra Cantt railway station.
How to Get There:
The nearest airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in New Delhi, which is well-connected to major international and domestic destinations. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a train or bus to Agra, which is about 220 kilometers (137 miles) away.
Agra is well-connected by train to major cities in India. The Agra Cantt railway station is the main railway station in Agra and is well-connected to cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Kolkata, among others. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus or auto-rickshaw to Mehtab Bagh.
Agra is well-connected by road to major cities in India. National Highway 2 (NH2) connects Agra to Delhi, and NH3 connects it to Mumbai. You can hire a taxi, take a bus, or drive your own vehicle to reach Mehtab Bagh.
Entry Fee and Timings:
As of the latest information (knowledge cutoff date in September 2021), the entry fee for Mehtab Bagh is INR 50 for Indian nationals and INR 200 for foreign nationals. There is an additional fee for carrying a still camera or video camera. The garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Things to See and Do:
- Taj Mahal View: The main attraction of Mehtab Bagh is the stunning view it offers of the Taj Mahal. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the Taj Mahal from across the Yamuna River, and it is particularly beautiful during sunset when the marble monument changes color in the warm light.
- Garden Walk: Mehtab Bagh is a well-maintained garden complex with lush green lawns, flower beds, and various trees and plants. You can take a leisurely stroll along the pathways, enjoy the serene ambiance, and appreciate the Mughal-style landscaping.
- Photography: Mehtab Bagh is a popular spot for photography enthusiasts, as it offers a unique perspective of the Taj Mahal. You can capture stunning photographs of the Taj Mahal with the river and the gardens in the foreground, creating a beautiful frame.
- Picnic: The garden provides ample space for picnicking, and you can bring a mat or a blanket and enjoy a leisurely picnic amidst the beautiful surroundings.
- Boating: Mehtab Bagh offers boating facilities in the Yamuna River, allowing you to enjoy a boat ride and get closer to the Taj Mahal from the river.
Tips for Visiting:
- Carry Ample Water and Sunscreen: Agra can get very hot during the summers, so it’s essential to carry enough water and sunscreen to protect yourself from the harsh sun.
- Wear Comfortable Clothing: As Mehtab Bagh involves walking and outdoor activities, wear comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for the weather and terrain.
- Follow Garden Rules: Mehtab Bagh is a protected historical site, so it’s important to follow the garden rules, such as not plucking flowers or littering.
- Respect the Monuments: Mehtab Bagh is in close proximity to the Taj Mahal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Respect the heritage and maintain the sanctity of the place by not damaging or defacing any structures or monuments. 5. Plan Your Visit: Mehtab Bagh is best visited during the cooler months of October to March when the weather is pleasant. Avoid visiting during the scorching summers or monsoons when the garden may be less enjoyable due to extreme temperatures or heavy rainfall.
- Be Mindful of Monkeys: Like many other tourist places in India, Mehtab Bagh may have monkeys roaming around. Be cautious and do not feed them or engage in any aggressive behavior towards them.
- Hire a Local Guide: Hiring a local guide can enhance your experience at Mehtab Bagh by providing insights into the history, architecture, and significance of the place. They can also help you navigate the garden and provide interesting anecdotes about the Taj Mahal and Mughal history.
- Carry Valid Identification: Foreign visitors may be required to carry a valid identification document, such as a passport, for entry to Mehtab Bagh.
- Capture Memories Responsibly: While photography is allowed in Mehtab Bagh, be mindful of not using flash or tripods, as they may harm the monuments. Also, refrain from flying drones, as they are not allowed in the area.
- Respect Local Customs: Agra is a conservative city, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly and avoid any behavior that may be offensive or disrespectful to the local culture and customs.
Mehtab Bagh is a picturesque garden that offers a unique perspective of the Taj Mahal and is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Agra. By following these tips and respecting the heritage and local customs, you can have a memorable and enjoyable visit to this historical site.
Where to Stay
Agra offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some recommendations for places to stay near Mehtab Bagh:
- Luxury Hotels: There are several luxury hotels in Agra that provide top-notch amenities, comfort, and exceptional services. Some of the renowned luxury hotels near Mehtab Bagh include The Oberoi Amarvilas, ITC Mughal, The Taj Gateway Hotel, and Radisson Blu Hotel Agra. These hotels are known for their luxurious rooms, world-class dining options, spa facilities, and stunning views of the Taj Mahal.
- Mid-range Hotels: If you are looking for mid-range hotels, Agra has plenty of options. Hotel Clarks Shiraz, Howard Plaza The Fern, Hotel Taj Resorts, and Crystal Sarovar Premiere are some popular mid-range hotels in the area. These hotels offer comfortable rooms, decent amenities, and good value for money.
- Budget Hotels: Agra also has several budget hotels and guesthouses that cater to budget-conscious travelers. Hotel Amar, Hotel Atithi, Hotel Alleviate, and Hotel Chanakya are some budget-friendly options near Mehtab Bagh. These hotels provide basic amenities, clean rooms, and affordable rates.
- Homestays: Another option for accommodation near Mehtab Bagh is to stay in a homestay. There are several homestays and guesthouses in the area that offer a local experience and a chance to interact with the locals. You can find homestays on platforms like Airbnb or through local travel agencies.
- Hostels: For budget travelers or backpackers, Agra also has some hostels that offer dormitory-style accommodation. These hostels are a great option for solo travelers or those on a tight budget. Zostel Agra, Hostelavie Agra, and Bonfire Hostels are some popular hostels in the city.
When choosing accommodation, consider factors such as location, budget, amenities, and reviews. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure availability and get the best deals. Most hotels in Agra offer online booking options through their websites or through popular online travel booking portals.
Q: What is Mehtab Bagh?
A: Mehtab Bagh is a historic Mughal garden located on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India. It is known for its stunning views of the Taj Mahal and is often referred to as the “Moonlight Garden“.
Q: How far is Mehtab Bagh from the Taj Mahal?
A: Mehtab Bagh is located just across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, and the distance between the two is approximately 500 meters (0.31 miles) in a straight line. However, the actual distance by road may be slightly longer.
Q: What are the timings of Mehtab Bagh?
A: The Bagh is open to visitors every day from sunrise to sunset. However, it’s best to check the current timings before your visit, as they may be subject to change.
Q: Is there an entry fee for Mehtab Bagh?
A: Yes, there is an entry fee for Mehtab Bagh. The entry fee varies for Indian and foreign tourists, and there may be additional charges for photography or videography. It’s advisable to check the current entry fee and rules before your visit.
Q: What can I see at Mehtab Bagh?
A: Mehtab Bagh is primarily known for its panoramic view of the Taj Mahal. It also has beautiful gardens, pavilions, fountains, and pathways. The garden is designed in a charbagh (four-fold) layout, typical of Mughal gardens, with raised pathways offering scenic views of the Taj Mahal and the surrounding landscape.
Q: Can I take photographs at Mehtab Bagh?
A: Yes, photography is allowed at The Bagh for personal use. However, the use of tripods, drones, or flash may not be allowed, and there may be additional charges for professional photography or videography. It’s important to be mindful of the rules and regulations regarding photography and respect the sanctity of the place.
Q: How much time should I plan for a visit to The Bagh?
A: The duration of your visit to Mehtab Bagh may vary depending on your interests and pace of exploration. On average, a visit to The Bagh can take around 1-2 hours. However, you may need additional time if you wish to spend more time exploring the garden, taking photographs, or listening to a guide’s explanations.
Q: Are there any nearby attractions to visit along with Mehtab Bagh?
A: Yes, there are several nearby attractions that you can visit along with The Bagh. The Taj Mahal, which is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, is just across the river from Mehtab Bagh. Other nearby attractions include Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj), Akbar’s Tomb, and Kinari Bazaar.