The Ram Bagh is known as the oldest Mughal charbagh (four-quartered garden) in India, built by the Emperor Babur during the early 16th century. This ancient Mughal garden is also called Bagh-gul-Afshan (light scattering garden) and Aalsi Bagh (lazy garden). Just five kilometers away from the northeast of Taj complex, the garden is laid out in usual char bagh path, a concept adopted from Persia.
It was Babur, the founder of the Mughal Rule, who established this garden. He got his inspiration from Persia’s way of pleasure and recreation through marvellous gardens. Based on historical records, the garden was originally created in three descending terraces. Water was withdrawn from Yamuna River through a string of water wheels and it poured into the network of cascades, canals, and tanks that flow from one terrace to the other.
Later, it was renovated by the wife of Jahangir, Nur Jahan, between 1615 and 1619. Babur named it Aaram Bagh (garden of relaxing) and with the influence of Marathas, the name was changed to Ram Bagh. It is believed that Emperor Babur was buried in this garden before being transferred to his tomb in Kabul. During the East India Company’s rule, the British greatly admired the garden that they revamped and transformed it into a holiday resort.
The first historical mention of Ram Bagh as the Bagh-gul-Afshan caused some historians to think that its name was derived from a garden in Kabul. It was well maintained under Jahangir’s rule as evidenced by the epigraphs and paintings found in some of the remains of this garden.
Colossal walls surround the garden with towers topped with pillared pavilions. The square garden is separated into four by stone pathways. In the garden, three sections are being maintained: one for flower beds with paved terraces and pavilions, second for flowers and vegetables, and the third one for tanks, terraces, and structures. A subterranean tahkhana offers relief for tourists during hot summers and is one of the major attractions of this garden.
The Ram Bagh garden is the grandfather of all Mughal gardens. It was the pioneer of the terraced and four-quartered garden plan that introduced architectural water devices like tanks, cascades, and canals. It was not just a plain orchard anymore. Babur’s idea was emulated by his descendants for over 200 years and it was famously adopted by neighboring states. Soon, it became the standard style of gardens.
Undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and historical sites in India, visit this haven if you want to witness how the ancient Mughal emperors maintained their gardens. You would also see through the Ram Bagh garden why Agra is being touted as the principal capital of the Mughal Empire.
Indeed, the Ram Bagh is one of the most beautiful historic gardens, not only in India, but across the world. You could opt to explore the garden on your own or hire a tour guide that would bring you to the spot without hassle.