Agra is known as the ‘City of Taj’. The Taj Mahal is widely considered one of the most beautiful buildings ever created. The Taj Mahal draws tourists like moths to a wondrous flame. But the Taj is not a stand-alone attraction. The legacy of the Mughal Empire has left a magnificent fort and a liberal sprinkling of fascinating tombs and mausoleums, gardens (popularly called Bagh) and there’s also fun to be had in the bustling chowks (marketplaces). But if you are a peace-loving person apart from the noise and chaos of the city, you can escape to the beautiful gardens around the city. These gardens are filled with so much greenery, walks into nature, the natural habitat of so many species of flora and fauna and wellbeing. Gardens have been the part of all the forts, a mausoleum to make every sight close to mother nature. Agra is situated on the banks of holy river Yamuna so watering never been a problem and beautiful greenery remains the identity of the forts and mausoleum. Eradication never had been a problem because of river Yamuna passing across the city. So creating green landscapes, parks also conserved the native flora and fauna. There are few gardens known for their long green landscape and having a great sight of the Tajmahal, holds great significance while you wish to have a distant sight of the Taj during sunset and sunrise. These three parks are well known among locals and tourists.
Distance from the Tajmahal – 500 meters (Walking distance from the eastern gate of the Tajmahal)
Mode of transportation- Electronic vehicle or rikshaw.
While we walk towards the eastern gate of the Tajmahal from Shilpgram parking, a beautiful forest cover is spread over 70 hectares just 500 meters away from the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal. The forest consists of a diversity of flora and fauna. This nature walk is a way to explore the lesser-known side of the city. Visitors can go to have an excellent view of the Taj from different mounds in the park. The tour takes visitors through a green belt located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, around 500 meters away from the Taj Mahal’s east gate. The nine- kilometer trail has grass mounds, watchtowers, and other viewing points to admire the Taj Mahal. This area is also rich in native flora and fauna and has over 46 varieties of flowers. You can also get to spot local birds, butterflies, and mammals such as jackals, blue bulls, hares, parakeets, kingfishers, and hoopoes.
When you hear Agra, you’ll automatically think of the magnificent monuments that represent the city. But there are a few treasures, offering you a chance to explore the Taj in a serene and some offbeat way. Taj Nature Park is an initiative of the Social Forestry Division of Agra that gives an experience of the beauty of Taj from various angles and settings. There are few elevated photo points, which allow you to capture the Taj with an amazing backdrop like nowhere else. You’ll be walking through a 9 km trail, while various species of birds and wildlife and rare trees and shrubs give you company. There are few elevated photo points, from where you get the opportunity to capture the Taj with a backdrop like nowhere else. The area consists of rifts and valleys, a natural ridge area with pathways for the visitors’ comfort and guidance. With different hues offsetting the pristine white of the monument of love, you will get in for a literal visual treat.
It abounds the peacefulness and long walk, so you will feel overjoyed by the real touch of nature. Local birds singing along give a treat to ears. Here, every mound has a story to tell and host many animals and birds like peacock, Robin, Flycatcher, Pigeon, parakeet, squirrels, and Hyena, etc. If you want to treat your day under the shade and surrounded by nature, this place is a heaven for you. As you go deeper towards the hills there is a clear sight of the beautiful Taj. There are so many sign-board to guide you for the path. As you get into the paths green muffler reduces the noise of vehicles and everything looks rejuvenated to the ears and eyes. You might get a sight of peacock dancing and birds singing. Thus if you want to escape the city and feel the Mother Nature around you, this place deserves a visit.
Distance from the Tajmahal-
Mode of transportation – You can find cabs, autos, rickshaws, and buses from any part of Agra to reach this garden.
Mehtab Bagh is located opposite to the Taj Mahal in the Forest Colony of Nagla Devjit region of Agra. Mehtab garden (Moonlight Garden) is one of the last of eleven Mughal styled gardens, were built along the river Yamuna. The garden complex, square in shape, measures about 300 by 300 meters (980 ft × 980 ft), is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank of river Yamuna.
It is mentioned that Emperor Babur (d. 1530) has built this garden. Later, Emperor Shah Jahan had identified a site from the crescent-shaped, grass-covered floodplain across the Yamuna River as an ideal location for viewing the Taj Mahal and created as “a moonlit pleasure garden called Mehtab Bagh.” This garden has been created, several centuries before the Taj Mahal built. White plaster walkways, airy pavilions, pools, and fountains were also created as part of the Garden, with fruit trees and narcissus. The garden is open for a picnic. A romantic lover always looks to spend some quality time and enjoy a picnic. Bright flowers and interesting trees inside the garden makes it look green and smell fresh. This garden has a stepped fountain, pond, sandstone domes, and other structures to please the visitors.
At the entry point of the garden, camel ride service providers for the kids available to hire a camel for a ride along the road. This garden is also the best spot to picture the Taj Mahal in various styles and time according to weather. Photography lovers can never forget the importance of this spot.
History of Mehtab Bagh
This garden was originally designed to be a Persian styled Char Bagh Complex. This original design had reflecting pools where the shadow of the Taj Mahal reflects on the water of the pool, pavilions, water fountains and much more. In the early 20th century, the garden was damaged and turned into nothing by a large pile of sand, due to the floods of River Yamuna.
By the end of the century, the archaeological department evacuated the spot to find the basic groundwork for the rumored ‘Black Taj Mahal’. However, they found the Charbagh complex buried under the sand. Today, ASI is striving to replicate and bring the garden to its ancient glory. Citrus trees, guava trees, hibiscus, and other trees local to Mughal reign are planted around the region.
The garden is square-shaped, 300 meters on each side. According to the inscriptions found on the site of the garden, there were many gardens aligned to this but did not survive the passage of time.
The compound of the garden contains a mixture of red sandstone cladding, brick and lime plaster. It has a boundary wall of 289m height. The domed tower inside the garden is octagonal in shape and is made with red sandstone. It is believed that the garden had four towers, one on each corner. However, only the tower on the southeast side remains. The main element of the garden is a large octagonal reflecting pond, which is located to the south of the garden. This pond reflects the image of the Taj Mahal on it. This pond is filled by a stepped waterfall from the northern part of the garden.
On the eastern side of the garden, there is a large water tank. The water channels cover the garden, making it possible for every inch of the garden to be flourished. The west of the garden has an aqueduct, which feeds the garden. Two ruined structures in the garden assumed as decorated garden pavilions of the past. Recently, many nurseries of varying plants are added including a temple, statues, and others.
The best time to visit the garden is early in the morning or during sunset. During these times, the view of the Taj Mahal will be spectacular. The garden is open from 6 am to 7 pm. The winter days are the best for the picnic in the daytime.
Autos or cabs from any part of the city to reach the park but the only E- rickshaws are allowed inside the park. If you are visiting the Taj Mahal, you can walk to the park from Purani Mandi chowk.
The park is located in the west of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan built this garden after the construction of the Taj Mahal. The park is very close to Motilal Nehru Park and Golf course. The purpose of the garden was to give a good view of the mausoleum and a good resting place. He planned to spend his life gazing at the monument from the garden. However, he was dethroned by his son and was detained inside Agra Fort.
The best time to visit the park is early winter morning. Local people go jogging and exercising in the early morning and evening. You can find joggers and photographers here. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, throughout the week.
The emerald-colored floors of the Shah Jahan Park expand towards the west of the Taj Mahal. This is a very good place for leisure visits. People can relax in the wide green stretch of this place. There is another park, the Motilal Nehru Park is also near to this place. Both parks are located on the Yamuna Kinara road that leads to the Taj Mahal. People on their way to and from the Taj visit these parks for a stroll. The Shah Jahan Garden is bisected by a walkway that passes through the whole stretch of the park. The Golf Course near this garden is also a very popular destination for the tourists as well as the local people in the area. Many people come here for relaxation.There is a bus stop near the Shah Jahan Garden specially meant for those public vehicles that connect the region to the interiors of the city. Some of the best hotels and restaurants in Agra are also located around this place. Tourists staying in these hotels come to the Shah Jahan Garden in the morning and evening to stroll around and jog. The Shah Jahan Garden of Agra is the appropriate place for those who want to experience the freshness of the air of Agra. This place will also prove to be interesting for those who are interested in Mugal history.