Mehtab Bagh - Restoration

Restoration

Restoration of the Mehtab Bagh began after the ASI survey, setting new standards for Mughal garden research. This included a surface survey, historical documentation, paleo-botanical assessment, archaeological excavation techniques, and requirements coordination with the Ministries of culture, tourism, and planning. Restoration began in the 1990s, aided by the Americans, during which barbed wire fencing was added to the Mehtab Bagh site. The garden's original ambiance was restored as ASI insisted on having plants that the Mughals had used in their gardens. Though the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) had suggested planting of 25 pollution-mitigating plant species every 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) in the proposed renovation of the garden, this was opposed by the ASI. The Supreme Court intervened in the matter in favour of ASI who wanted the garden to only have plants that the Mughals used in their gardens.

A common list of plants was suggested. ASI landscape artists meticulously planned the replanting of trees, plants and herbage to match with the original Mughal gardens, replicating the riverside gardens brought to India from Central Asia in Shalimar Bagh in Kashmir. Some 81 plants adopted in Mughal horticulture were planted, including guava, maulshri, kaner, hibiscus, citrus fruit plants, neem, bauhinia, ashoka and jamun. The herbage was planted in such a way that tall trees follow the short ones, then shrubs, and lastly flowering plants. Some of these plants produce bright coloured flowers which shine in the moonlight. The park has been reconstructed to its original grandeur and has now become a very good location to view the Taj Mahal.

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