Agra though much of an industrial town in the modern era, its history cannot be undermined. The walls and narrow lanes that form a part of this popular Tourist destination also have a number of gardens that are not unusual of the Mughal era. The gardens in Agra, it seems formed an essential part of the great architectural work of the monuments built during the time of the Mughal emperors. To visit the gardens or baghs in Agra, as they were normally called added to the beautiful monuments built of an age far gone by. Some of the famous gardens of Agra are the perfect getaway from the crowds that are always unavoidable in this ever busy city.
The Taj Mahal garden is beautifully designed in Persian style located inside the Taj Mahal complex. It starts from the main entrance gate of the Taj Mahal and ends at the entrance of the burial chambers. It is an ever soothing place to relax and have a view of the Majestic Taj. It is a stretch of lush greenery with trees planted at regular distances, providing visitors with the much needed shade from the sun during the day while viewing the Taj Mahal. It is a rectangular shaped garden and is often as is typical of any Persian styled garden introduced by the first Mughal emperor Babur in the form of char bagh or garden with four sides as is in the case with rectangular shaped gardens. Usually the tomb which is the main element of the gardens of Mughal style is at the centre. But in the case of the Taj Mahal gardens, the tombs are placed at the end. The raised marbled water tanks along with the pool that stretches between the gateway and the entrance to the burial reflects the Taj adding further beauty to the sight. The brick marble pathways and beautified flower beds are believed to have been planned by Ali Mardan, an efficient engineer of the time.
The once lush green Mehtab garden which is on the northern side of the River Yamuna , opposite to the southern banks where the Taj stands provides an amazing view of the Taj Mahal, especially on moonlit nights. This garden which had its own significance and beauty during the time of the Mughal era with beautiful flowers and well managed greenery is now being given importance once again. Raising concerns over pollution around the Taj, the Mehtab Garden is now a subject of much effort of many historian and geographers who believe that in order to restore the Taj, much greenery needs to be added and restored around this magnificent structure of history.
The garden at Sikandra which encompasses the tomb of Akbar at Sikandra, which is around 15 kilometres from Agra City, is a perfect place to spend e relaxing time. The best time of the day to visit this place would be early in the morning or late in the evening just before sunset. This garden is a part of the complex housing the tomb of Akbar and is a rectangular shaped garden of lush greenery well maintained. What is also most noticeable here is the grazing of Black Bucks and the un-avoidable presence of black faced Langurs who seem to have taking a liking to this place. They are also protected and are not for any game or entertainment. The quiet atmosphere of the lush green gardens with the amazing work of Mughal art work in the form of Akbar's Tomb and to add to this, the undeterred grazing of the protected black bucks adds to the charm of the famous emperor who rests in peace at this very sight. The presence of many scattered trees around the garden seems to have an added drawing of the Langurs who find the combination of the greenery and protected trees away from the crowd a place to be settled indeed. Not to mention, the presence of many squirrels that scatter from one tree to another.
The Ram Bagh originally built by the first Mughal ruler Babur, is the oldest of all the gardens in Agra. The Persian style of this garden in the form of char bagh or garden with four corners divided by canals passing through its lush greenery set the tone for the rest of the gardens to be designed on this similar pattern that was to represent the garden of paradise, where the waters and fountains running through the canals also represented a significant component in the heavenly bode of the almighty Allah. The Ram Bagh is situated at less than a kilometer north of the Chini Ka Rauza. It is believed that Babur was temporarily buried at the Ram Bagh before his tomb was permanently shifted to his original homeland in Kabul where he rests in peace. After Babur, the garden underwent through few changes with additions to this beautiful garden by the queen of Jahangir, Noor Jahan. The Ram Bagh at times is also known as the Aram Bagh or the garden of relaxation where Babur is said to have spent his leisure hours while away from his kingship duties.
The Soami Bagh located at the Dayalbagh Gardens which is about little more than 10 kilometers away from the main township of Agra is the headquarter for the Radha Saomi Satsang movement. It is frequently visited by Tourists from all over the globe. The Saomi Bagh houses the memorial of the first Guru Shiv Dayal Sahib, the founder of this movement. It combines the elements of all religions. His memorial today has become a pilgrimage for all followers of the Radha Saomi Sect from all over the globe. They all travel to this grand memorial in worship of their first Guru. What are worth noticing while on your visit to this place are the striking architectural features that add to the beauty of the memorial and amazement to visitors. The Radha soami memorial is more than a 100 feet in height and has impressive pillars. But what is astonishing is the never ending work that is carried on the make the memorial a sight to watch in awe. Particularly noticeable are the inlaid marble work.
The Anguri Bagh or the garden of Grapes is located inside the Agra Fort and stands west of the Khas Mahal. This garden is believed to have been the centre for harvesting of grapes as the name suggests along with many other flowers and designed in a way so as to be the retreat for the royal ladies who ensured much privacy. Supply of water was ensured to the bath and ponds of this garden from the tanks located close to the Jahangiri Mahal.
The Dayal Bagh can be found some 15 km / 8 miles from Agra and is regularly visited by pilgrims, being the official home of the religious sect of Radhasoami. Highlights include a grand memorial structure, which towers more than 30 metres / 100 feet and dominates much of the gardens.