The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 2 Gardens of the Plains - Agra

Ram Bagh Garden Agra

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The Ram Bagh, on the left bank of the Jumna, may possibly be the garden-palace of Babar's description. It was a royal garden in the time of his great-grandson Jahangir; one of the numerous palaces of the Empress Nur-Jahan. It is astonishing to find how many of the famous Mughal gardens throughout Northern India and Kashmir owe their inception to, or were directly inspired by, the taste and the love of natural scenery and flowers of this royal lady, who shared with Babar the joyous art-loving traditions inherited from Turki and Persian ancestors. In the Ram Bagh the great Emperor was laid in his last sleep, before his remains were removed to their final resting-place, his favourite Garden of the New Year, near Kabul. All succeeding rulers have kept up this garden of his at Agra, and it is said to have obtained its name of Ram Bagh from the Mahrattas in the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, the original character of these gardens is almost lost; the raids and wars of old times, and the mistaken zeal for English landscape-gardening have swept away the avenues of alternating cypress trees and fruit trees. Gone are the glowing parterres, carpets of colour -'the roses and narcissus planted regularly in beds corresponding to one another'-such as were spread to delight the eyes of Babar or Nur-Mahal. Winding drives and meaningless paths now replace the charming old formality, while the baradaris on the riverside terrace are disfigured and modernised. There remain only the terraces, fountains, and narrow watercourses, with their tiny, carved water-chutes, and the old well from which the garden was supplied with water from the Jumna.