Directly across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) offers a stunning perspective on Agra’s most beloved monument. While the views are the big draw of this 16th-century garden, it’s also worth a visit in its own right for its elegant landscape design and quiet ambiance.
Spread out over 25 acres (10 hectares), this garden dates back to 1530, when it was commissioned by Babur, the first emperor of the Mughal dynasty in India. At the time it was filled with flowers and orchards, and though flooding over the years has led to some loss of plant life, it’s still wonderfully landscaped.
Many Agra city tours, plus multi-day tours from Delhi and elsewhere that include Agra, stop at this riverside garden for photos. Generally this happens at sunset, when the view of the Taj Mahal reflecting on the river is spectacular.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mehtab Bagh is a must for photographers and all first-time visitors to Agra and the Taj Mahal.
- Wear sun protection—there’s not much shade in the garden.
- Bring bug spray in the rainy season, as the garden can get muggy and attract mosquitoes.
- Wear comfy shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. It’s a long walk from the garden’s gate to the Taj viewpoint.
How to Get There
Mehtab Bagh is in Agra, across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal. From the Taj it’s a 20-minute drive; Agra Fort is about a 10-minute drive away.
When to Get There
Mehtab Bagh is open from sunrise to sunset every day, but the best time to visit is closer to sunset, when the Taj Mahal reflects on the river. If you happen to be in Agra on a Friday, when the Taj Mahal is closed to the public, you’ll definitely want to head here for the views.
The Legend of the Black Taj
According to local legend, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan planned a mausoleum to be built across the river from the Taj Mahal, identical but made entirely of black marble. However, the emperor was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb, and the project never came to fruition. Some have postulated that the presence of black marble ruins in Mehtab Bagh were foundation stones for the legendary tomb, but historians have largely dismissed the theory.