Charbagh is a Islamic quadrilateral garden based on the four gardens of Paradise in the Quran. Across the Yamuna River exactly opposite to the Taj Mahal lies the ruined site of Shah Jahan’s charbagh. Identified by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the most appropriate location to view the Taj, Mehtab Bagh was once occupied with pavilions, pools and fountains, and planted with fruit trees and flowers. With an identical width and perfect alignment with the Taj, the garden was seen as part of the master plan of the Taj Mahal. However after years of neglect, Mehtab Bagh was almost forgotten in the modern days until a major restoration work in 1990s. Today the garden has become the most popular spot in town to view the sunset of Taj Mahal. Our tour guide Gautam Pratap with Agra Walks took us to Mehtab Bagh by car.
The car took us to cross Yamuna River.
After we crossed the river, we soon arrived at some underprivileged neighborhoods.
According to our guide, the neighborhood that we passed by was mainly occupied by a “lower” caste of inhabitants.
According to our guide, interactions between people of different castes is usually rare.
Even life for domestic animal is harsh here.
Children having fun along the road.
After paying an admission, we were led to the central axis in the garden directly facing the Taj Mahal.
Ruins of the former pavilion and platform lie directly across from the Taj Mahal.
Once the official royal garden to view the Taj Mahal, Mehtab Bagh has become a popular place once again for tourists to view the Indian icon during sunset.
Pollution of the Yamuna River poses a major threat to the timber fountain and marble facade of the Taj. Due to river pollution, millions of small bugs appear at Taj Mahal and produce green excrement on the marble walls.
Some visitors would go to the riverside ground east of the Taj to photograph it without paying the admission fee. The ground is particular popular in early morning.
From Mehtab Bagh, it is the riverside sunset that draws tourists and locals for a magical moment to end the day. For us, it was the grand finale for our Agra experience. Before sunrise the next morning, we would board the express train for our return journey to Delhi.