A Travellerspoint blog

59 ~ Taj Mahal's back side : Mehtab Bagh

Gardens are not in their full glory - great to visit February through to April

View India 18 - 19 on bruceontour's travel map.

I wanted to see the Taj Mahal (Taj) from the “rear” and the Mughal Riverfront Gardens was being the restored including the Mehtab Bagh.

Mehtab Bagh (Hindi मेहताब बाग़, Urdu:مہتاب باغ‬‎, translation: Moonlight Garden) is a charbagh complex. It lies north of the Taj Mahal complex and the Agra Fort on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, in the flood plains. The garden complex, square in shape, measures about 300 by 300 metres (980ft × 980ft) and is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank.

Some 81 plants adopted in Mughal horticulture were planted, including guava, maulshri, Nerium, hibiscus, citrus fruit plants, neem, bauhinia, ashokaand jamun. The herbage was planted in such a way that tall trees follow the short ones, then shrubs, and lastly flowering plants. Some of these plants produce bright-coloured flowers that shine in the moonlight. Thanks Mr Wikipedia.


This is what Lonely Planet has to say …

This park, originally built by Emperor Babur as the last in a series of 11 parks on the Yamuna’s east bank (long before the Taj was conceived), fell into disrepair until it was little more than a huge mound of sand. To protect the Taj from the erosive effects of the sand blown across the river, the park was reconstructed and is now one the best places from which to view the great mausoleum.

The gardens in the Taj are perfectly aligned with the ones here, and the view of the Taj from the fountain directly in front of the entrance gate is a classic. It's a popular spot at sunset.


It has great view of the rear of the Taj Mahal with all four towers or minars visible. Unfortunately, there was a lot of mist which had obscured most of the Taj but one could clearly only see the outline. However with the repair works going on, the gardens are not in their full glory. The money shot is no doubt from the fountain which was fenced off being renovated.

Mehtab Bagh is where Shah Jahan intended to build his own mausoleum, a black version, right opposite that of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal. The jury's out if he ever began work because his son locked him up for the rest of his 44 years to stop him spending so much money. Also, he's said to have blinded and removed the hands of the Taj workmen, so they might never make anything so beautiful again.

Paid the extra 300 rupees / NZ$6.30 / US$4.20. Plus GST came to 505 rupees / NZ$10.50 / US$7.10 for the entrance fee.

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Was it worth it? Not really but I have no regrets. I can see why this park is popular at nights with the locals and once further developed it would be an even better asset. Would be great to visit this garden in February through to April for the flowers.

If I had more time would have stopped near the field where the locals were playing cricket and used the Taj as a background image.

With a 1.30pm / 13:30 late check out, it was time to head back to the hotel and shower as I have 2 night flights ahead of me, then onto Delhi.

As we drove from Mehtab Bagh back towards the hotel.


Seeing a while ago Frances my niece’s photos of her time at the Taj recognised that as we drove to Mehtab Bagh the saris drying laid out on the river bank having been washed. So, it was a very quick stop at the middle and end of the bridge while I dashed out to take a few quick images. Again wish that I had more time to go down to the river level itself. Perhaps next time if there is a next time. That plus see the “Baby” Taj which again is not far away.

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Because of the possible traffic delays allowed plenty of time just in case. Hate to miss my flight connection to from Delhi Airport and a 10.30pm / 22:30 flight to Hong Kong.

Taking the Yamuna 6 lane 165 kms / 100 mile expressway from Agra to Greater Noida, it was a quick 3.5 hour journey to travel to the airport.

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However, reaching the outskirt of Delhi, yes, the traffic did at times slow right down and the last hour was at times down to a crawl.

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I should have remembered that the Lotus Temple in Delhi was close by the road to the airport so again can add that to my future list of places to see.

As Ashok’s daughter had her birthday that night and he lives an hour away from the airport, there was no point for him to take me somewhere for dinner so it was an airport dinner once check in was done.

The last 16 days travelled some approximately 2,870 kms / 1,780 miles, so thanks to Ashok for your driving skills and not to my knowledge hitting any vehicles or people. I won’t miss your phone ring tone though!

With check in opening at 7pm / 19:00, it was a bit of a wait but at least I had power to charge my camera batteries. With Premium Economy there was no queue at the check in counter. Got my boarding pass for both of the next 2 sectors but no upgrade.


Dinner up in the food court taking the non-veg combo 480 rupees / NZ$10 / US$6.80. Plus GST came to 505 rupees / NZ$10.50 / US$7.10.

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Posted by bruceontour 14:14 Archived in India Tagged agra mehtab_bagh

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