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Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend

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  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Interested in seeing the Taj Mahal from more than one angle? Then head over to Mehtab Bagh, or the Moonlight Gardens. Mehtab Bagh is situated opposite of the Taj Mahal on the northern side of the Yamuna River. These gardens are the last of Emperor Babur's 11 gardens that once lined the river. Babur is the founder of the Mughal dynasty, which includes the likes of Shah Jahan (responsible for the Taj Mahal) and Emperor Akbar (responsible for the Agra Fort). The gardens are modest in comparison to other royal gardens (such as the landscape at Versailles Palace), but Mehtab Bagh's purpose today is a practical one. After the empire fell, the gardens were neglected and eventually became unrecognizable. Winds would pick up sand that was left in the plot and travel to the Taj Mahal, causing officials to worry about erosion. The garden was rehabilitated specifically to protect the Taj Mahal from these natural occurrences.

Some visitors offered mixed reviews of the gardens, describing the grounds as unimpressive and neglected, while others found the site to be a verdant oasis. Regardless of travelers' feelings about aesthetics, many agreed it was peaceful thanks to its distance from the Taj tourists. Plus, the stunning views of the Taj were more than worth the trip, according to reviewers. Some say the best time to visit is at sunset, when the sky lights up with the Taj in the background.

The Mehtab Bagh is open from sunrise to sunset. Admission costs 200 rupees, or $3.50 for tourists. Children 15 and younger enter for free. For more information about the Mehtab Bagh, visit India's Archaeological Survey site.

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#1 Taj Mahal

Plain and simple: This is the reason you come to Agra. The Taj Mahal is a majestic tomb built in the Mughal style, which combines Indian, Islamic and Persian architectural principles. Visitors marvel at the intricate Quran inscriptions, the structure's perfect symmetry, the ornate accents, and the surrounding manicured gardens. But this monument's enchantment goes beyond its arresting visual appeal: The story behind its creation has drawn romantics for centuries.

According to legend, Emperor Shah Jahan (part of the Mughal dynasty, which ruled the majority of northern India between the 16th and 18th centuries) fell deeply in love with Arjumand Banu Begum, who became his favorite of his three wives. They shared such an intense passion for each another that he renamed her "Mumtaz Mahal," or "Chosen One of the Palace." After many years of happy marriage, Mumtaz passed away during the birth of her 14th child. To commemorate their undying love for one another, the Shah built the Taj Mahal as an elaborate tomb. The tomb is made up entirely of white marble and features jade, crystal, lapis, turquoise and amethyst stones inlaid throughout. Over 20,000 workers labored over the site for more than 20 years.

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