Taj Mahal: Designers, Engineers & the role of Hindus

The Superintendent of the masons was Muhammad Hanif of Akbarabad. Mohan Lal, Manohar Singh, and Mannoo Lal, mosaicists from Lahore, received each Rs. 500 per mensem.

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(The following is an excerpt from The History of Taj & the Buildings in its Vicinity by Md. Moin ud-Din, General Superintendent of Mathura Collectorate, published in 1905.) 

For the construction of this miracle of architecture, Shah Jahan invited to his court all the eminent architects and masons, and artists in his own territories, as well as from foreign countries; such as Persia, Arabia and Turkey. Master Isa Afandi, the designer, and Amanat Khan Shirázi, Tugra-writer, were appointed each on a monthly salary of one thousand rupees.

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Ismail Khan, the dome-maker, from Turkey drew Rs. 500 a month; and Muhammad Khan, the Calligrapher from Shiraz, Rs. 800 a month. Kazim Khan of Lahore was employed on Rs. 200 a month as the kalas-maker. The Superintendent of the masons was Muhammad Hanif of Akbarabad. Mohan Lal, Manohar Singh, and Mannoo Lal, mosaicists from Lahore, received each Rs. 500 per mensem. In short, the services of the most skilful men of the age in Asia were secured for the production of this wonder of wonders.


S. No.Name ResidenceSpecialisation Monthly Salary in Rupees
1Muhammad Isa AfandiTurkeyDesigner & Draughtsman1,000
2Sattar KhanTurkeyCalligrapher1,000
3Muhammad Sharif Samarkand Draughtsman1,000
4Muhammad HanifAkbarabad (Agra)Supervisor of Masons1,000
5Amanat Khan ShirazTugra-writer1,000
6Kádir-Zaman KhanArabiaGeneral Artist800
7Chiranji LalDelhiMosaicist800
8Baldeo DassMultanGultarásh690
9Munnoo LalLahoreInlayer680
10Jumna DassDelhiInlayer680
11AbdullaDelhiMason 675
12Bashárat AliDelhiInlayer632
13Bhugwan DassMultan Inlayer630
14Muhd. Yusuf KhanDelhiInlayer600
15Chhote LalMultan Inlayer600
16Jhumar LalMultanInlayer600
17Abdul GhaffarMultanCalligrapher600
18Wahab KhanPersiaCalligrapher600
19Amir AliMultan Gultarash600
20Muhammad SajjadBalkhMason550
21Ismail Khan TurkeyDome-maker 500
22Muhammad KhanBaghdadCalligrapher500
23Muhammad SiddiqDelhiMason 500
24Ata MuhammadBukharaSculptor500
25Aboo YusufDelhiInlayer500
26Aboo Turab KhanMultan Mason 500
27Shakr- ullaMultanGultarash475
28Shakir MuhammadBukharaGultarash400
29Raushan Khan SyriaCalligrapher400
30Sheoji LalMultanInlayer342
31Manohar DassMultanInlayer295
32Kázim KhanMultanKalas-maker295
33Madho RamLahoreInlayer273
34ChintamanMultan Inlayer252
35Bansi DhurMultanInlayer244
36HírámanMultan Inlayer234
37Manoher SinghLahoreInlayer200
38Mohan LalKannaujInlayer200


Muhammad Isa Afandi made plans and designs. He drew 1,000 rupees a month. The same salary was given to four other men, one native and three foreigners for other kinds of work. Out of 38 superior artists 2 constructed plans, 5 were calligraphers, one tughra writer, one supervisor of masons, one dome-builder, 18 inlayers, one kalas-maker, three (gultarashes) flower-sculptors, four chief masons, and one, a Moor, master of all arts.

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The salaries of these masters of their respective arts ranged from 200 to 1,000 rupees. The whole gang of labourers and workmen numbered some 20,000 men. Makramat Khan and Mir Abdul Karim were the Inspectors General of the several branches into which the establishment was divided. The building was completed by this extensive establishment in 20 years.

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