350 years ago, when the Taj was built on the Yamuna's south bank, a moonlight garden called Mehtab Bagh was also laid just across the river. It was laid alongside the northern waterfront. The place was once an oasis with fragrant flowers, shaded pavilions, fountain jets and reflecting pools but it ceased to exist in the due course of history. Slowly, the site became barren.
This 25-acre plot has now turned in to an epicenter for the apex
court-ordered project to establish protective greenways around the Taj.
As the land is reclaimed, historians and geographers from around the
world are jostling to learn about the magnificent garden that once
existed near this oasis. A breakthrough technology inspired from Iran
has been applied to bloom the Mehtab Bagh once again.
This interest in Mehtab Bagh has developed due to the increasing
concern for the Taj and its grounds, which are threatened by urban
sprawl, too many tourists, and air pollution that eats away at the
shrine's marble exterior. The lush gardens that once lined the
riverbanks on either side of the Taj may be reincarnated in a scheme to
shield it from further depredations. Conservationists maintain that a
buffer zone of greenery would keep development at bay and help remedy
local air, noise, and water pollution. Much of the land for the
greenbelt had already been acquired through an earlier initiative to
establish a 340-acre national park around the Taj.