Mughal Architecture: Organisation of Building Construction

Construction of Fathpur Sikri, Akbarnāma, V&A Museum, London

Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi

The question to be taken up here is: who were the real ‘builders’ and how were they organized?

Though buildings – mosques, tombs, residences etc – came to be constructed from the reign of Babur himself (1526-30), the Mughal school of architecture was really established only in the period of Akbar (1556-1605).

Quite often when our Persian chroniclers narrate the building of various forts, bridges, havelis or gardens, instead of providing the names of the architects or master-masons, and other precise details, they confine themselves to just praising their skill (as architects) – mi’mārān-i jādu asar and najjārān-i āzarkār or muhandisān-i firdaus barīn, high flown adjectives that hardly advance our knowledge.[1]

When Khwānd Amir discusses the division of society into three classes, he fails to mention the architects who must have formed an important group during his time. Even Abu’l Faẓl who devoted a full section on the building establishment and provides the names of men of standing, intellectuals and artists, fails to name the architects of his time, which he in fact does in respect of physicians. The same appears to be the case with Badāūni and the author of the Ṭabaqāt-i Akbarī. In Medieval India the inscriptions which have so far been noticed mention architects, or calligraphers, but seldom the masons or brick-layers. Thus in the case of the Tāj Mahal, the only name which comes to us – and that too only from inscriptions – is  that of Amānat Khān who has left his signature on one of the panels. The Persian sources are also silent as far as the personnel of the building construction are concerned.[2] They only mention the chief architects and engineers like Ustād Qāsim Khān, the architect of Agra Fort[3] and Ustād Ahmad and Hāmid of the Red Fort of Delhi.[4] As far as the palaces and structures at Fathpur-Sīkri are concerned, the sources are entirely silent about their actual builders. We are only informed that craftsmen from regions like Gujarat and Rajasthan were employed in the enterprise. From our sources it also appears that like other professions, the architects were largely hereditary in nature.[5]

While dealing with the expertise of stone-cutters in India, Babur tells us that in his buildings at Fathpur Sīkri, Bayāna, Dholpūr, Gwālior and Kol (modern Aligarh), “as many as 1491 stone-cutters worked daily”.[6] Abu’l Fazl tells us that three to four thousand masons and other craftsmen were employed in the construction of Agra Fort, while ‘Ārif Qandhāri says that two thousand stone-cutters and two thousand skilled masons were employed for the construction work, while eight thousand labourers assisted them.[7] Though the Persian sources are silent as far as the work force employed in the Sikandara, the tomb of I’timād ud Daulah and the Tāj Mahal are concerned, William Finch gives the figure of three thousand for Sikandara.[8] Irfan Habib, basing himself on the information available in the Persian sources, hazards a figure of 5,000 to 8,000 building craftsmen employed in the construction at Fathpur Sīkri.[9]

Our Persian sources refer to some designations of officers or professional men without naming them personally, e.g. the mīr-i ‘imārat  and dārogha-i ‘imārat who appear to have headed the building establishment. Other categories of overseers and workers mentioned in our sources are the mi’mār (architect/mason), muḥandiṣ (architect), naqsha-navīs(plan drawer), naqqāsh (carver), sangtarāsh (stone-cutter), gul tarāsh (floral designer), parchīnkār (inlayer/engraver) and the najjār (carpenter), apart from the generality of artisans and labourers.

The mīr-i ‘imārat was an official who supervised the construction of a building or an edifice. It was he who apart from supervising the construction was also responsible for the recruitment of the various masons, artisans and labourers.  While dealing with details of various bureaucratic offices and positions under the Mughals, the author of the Hidāyat-ul Qāwa‘id (c. 1700) gives the qualifications that were deemed necessary for an efficient mīr-i ‘imārat.He was required to be aware of the art of construction and also possessed a sound knowledge of arithmetic (ḥisāb).[10] If he himself was not well versed in ḥisāb, he was to hire a person who was a master in it. The mīr-i ‘imārat was also required to have some technical knowledge as well. Thus he was supposed to know the number of bricks that were needed to construct a house of a certain size, the method of preparing the mortar and the relative quantities of its ingredients.[11] Apart from this, he was required to be aware of the prevailing wages of the masons, artisans and labourers. Hidayatullah cautions that the mīr-i ‘imārat should also be aware of the prices of the lime, bricks, wood and other building material so that the person for whom the edifice is being built remains satisfied. His dealings with the subordinates were also supposed to be such that the work could be carried out in a congenial atmosphere and at a rapid pace.[12]  We are further told that if the chief architect (sardār-i mi‘mārān) were to be rewarded with a robe of honour or some other gift from the court, the mīr-i ‘imārat should himself make gifts to the other workers in a similar manner from his own account so that they may not be disheartened.[13]

Once the building was fully constructed it was put under the supervision of the dārogha-i ‘imārat, the Incharge of the buildings, who was responsible for its upkeep and repairs as the need arose.[14] To help him discharge his duties, a number of aḥadīs (royal troopers),[15] bandūqchis (musketeers)[16] and a host of ‘shovel-wielders’ (beldārs)[17] were placed under his charge.

Before the actual construction could start, it appears that certain experts were asked to submit a plan. Our sources, however, have very few references as to how these plans were made. It is only in the nineteenth century, when books of tourist interest for the Tāj were prepared that we find a detailed mention of naqsha navīs.[18] Interestingly enough in these works, the naqsha navīs is mentioned as the chief architect. The mere absence of a mention of naqsha navīs does not necessarily mean the non-existence of this profession. The sheer magnitude of the Imperial buildings and their symmetrical appearance hints towards the existence of expert plan- drawers. We find Babar lamenting at the asymmetrical and un-planned buildings which he found on coming to India.[19] One of the surviving Akbarnāmapaintings preserved at Victoria and Albert Museum shows Bābur overseeing the laying out of the Bāgh-i Wafa Garden. The painting contains a depiction of a man supervising the work with the help of a plan on a rectangular sheet of graph-paper. The men to whom instructions are being given are shown holding a long rope with which they are measuring the garden-beds. In all probability the same method was used in carrying out construction of buildings according to plan set out on a graph. For only then can one appreciate the Emperor’s indignation at the un-planned buildings of India.[20] An interesting passage in Manucci’s account very lucidly brings out the detailed manner in which the plans of houses were drawn by architects before the actual construction. Discussing the whimsical nature of a Mughal noble, Ja’far Khān, he writes:

“…But it was a stranger thing he [Ja’far Khān] did when the architect brought him the plans of a fine palace that he intended to build. For after asking as to various sections of the plan, he ended by inquiring about a certain place, where were depicted the privy retreats. The architect said it was the necessary place, whereupon he held his nostrils with his right hand, and puckering up his face, made a sign with his left to take the plan away, as if it smelt merely through having this painting on it.”[21]

Our sources generally use the term taraḥ for the plan drawing as for any pattern. Abul Qāsim Namakīn in his Munsh’āt includes taraḥi or plan-drawing, as one of the essential functions of the mi‘mār.[22] Further, we are informed that the fort of Shāhjahānabad was constructed according to the taraḥ ratified by the emperor himself.[23] Sālih Kanboh says that even the covered bāzār (bāzār-i musaqqaf) at the fort was constructed after Shāhjahān, having seen a taraḥ of a similar market at Baghdād, ordered that it be sent to Mukarramat Khān, the supervisor of the Red Fort.[24] Asaf Khān, we are informed was an expert in taraḥī and it was he who placed a number of plans for the proposed khwābgāh (bed-chamber) at Lahore Fort made by certain ‘expert architects’ (ustādān) before Shāhjahān, who then, chose one plan which was ultimately executed by the engineers (muhandisān).[25] The making of the taraḥ is also mentioned in some of the surviving Mughal documents. For example, the Nigārnāma-i Munshī, a collection of administrative documents, contains a reference to the preparation of a taraḥ of a damaged building at Peshāwar.[26] Similarly another document of Aurangzeb’s reign refers to Jawāharmal, a mi‘mār, who prepared a taraḥ of a haveli of a deceased noble.[27]  

Sometimes the term naqsha was also used to refer to a plan: Salih Kanboh uses both terms, the taraḥ and the naqsha.[28] Shahnawaz Khān in his Ma’āsirul Umara informs us that the Mughal court possessed the naqshās of both Baghdad and Isfahan.[29]

The official histories have also recorded the details of many major monuments of their period. These details include even minor intricacies like the thickness of the plinth, the height of the various portions, their length and breadth, the curvature of the dome etc. For a person like Lāhori it would not have .been possible to discuss the details of a building of such dimensions as the Tāj, unless he was provided these details by a plan or map placed before him.[30]The manner in which he describes the bulbous dome of the mausoleum also indicates the use of a plan or drawing.

We also find that the builders under the Mughals had certain rules based on which the plan might have been drawn. Thus the author of Bayāẓ-i Khwushbūī writing in the reign of Shāhjahān gives examples of details of certain mansions and gardens in order to stress how the houses, baths and gardens should be ideally constructed.[31] Dealing with arched-gates of buildings, the author says:

“The breadth of the gate of the building should be 1 dira, the height 2 dira and its chaukhaṭ should be one foot high. If the dimensions are less than this, it (the gate) would look ugly.”[32]

The actual construction work was carried out under the mi‘mār. The term normally denoted a mason, but was also used for the chief of works or supervisor. The chief architect under whose supervision the other architects constructed the Agra Fort under Akbar is called a mi‘mār by Gulbadan in her Memoirs.[33] Similarly the Fort of Delhi was completed under the directions of Ustad Ahmad and Ustad Hamid, both being ‘expert mi‘mārs’.[34] We are also told that the Tāj Mahal was constructed by the architect of the Delhi Fort Ustād Ahmad mi‘mār and his son claimed that he himself and his brothers were all expert mi‘mārs.[35] Abdur Rahim Khān-i Khānan too had in his service a ‘mi‘mār’ who had no parallel.[36] These master-masons had under their control a number of ordinary mi‘mārs (masons) whose job appears to have been mainly brick-laying. They in fact, were the real masons. Their expertise extended to estimating prices of buildings and lands: witness the task assigned officially to Lachhmi mi‘mār at Mathura to estimate the price of a private house early in Aurangzeb’s reign.[37] The mi‘mārs of supervisory levels enjoyed both importance and affluence can be deduced from their portrayal in Mughal miniatures, where, while directing building work, they are depicted fully clad from head to foot.[38]

Another category of experts who worked hand in hand with the mi‘mār were the muhandis or the mathematicians. They appear to be expert in the art of arithmetic and geometry, which they applied to calculate the proportions of the foundations and. heights.[39] The term muhandis was also generally applied to the architects. Lutfullah, the architect had the title ‘Muhandis’. He was well-versed in the science of mathematics, which he says, he applied whi1e constructing buildings.[40] In fact he has left behind works on mathematics.[41] ‘Atāullah Rashīdī, the brother of Lutfullah Muhandis, was a master of arithmetic and architecture.[42] In fact, throughout his Dīwān, Lutfullah uses the term muhandis for architect.[43] We are also told that Ustād Ahmad, the architect of Delhi Fort had no parallel as far as his knowledge of mathematics is concerned.[44]

Next in importance to the mi‘mār was the sangtarāsh (stone-cutter) or the najjār (carpenter). While dealing with the positive aspects of Indian society, Shaikh Zain while summarising the Bāburnāma says:

“They are far more numerous and exceed in number than those of any other country… in the royal edifices at Agra 680 stone- cutters who are the natives of the city, have been at work every day in special departments of the governments, and in laying in the foundations of the buildings of Fathpur Sīkri, Biāna, Dholpūr, Gwālior, Kol, and, in carrying out the imperial command, as many as 1491 stone-cutters worked daily. Moreover, every one of the pillars of the government (grandees) who erect buildings of stones, employ a. large number of the stone-cutters in the same way.”[45]

Bābur himself alludes to the large number of sangtarāsh in India giving the numbers that Shaikh Zain has reproduced. He also writes that these stone cutters were also sent to other countries.[46] Abu’l Faẓl in his chapter on a’in-i imārat mentions two categories of sangtarāsh viz. the naqqāsh who was the tracer or carver and the sādahkār or the plain stone-cutter.[47] The naqqāsh enjoyed a superior position relative to the sādahkār: the Akbarnāma paintings show the carvers better dressed than the sādahkār.[48] The stone was first handed over to the sādahkār who would cut the stone into the required shape. It was then handed over to the naqqāsh who would trace the required floral or geometrical design before handing it over to the parchīnkār (engraver) or mambatkār (embosser) as per the need. For carving out the more intricate designs, the stone marble was handed over to the gultarāsh.[49]

After the various categories of the stone- cutters and carvers accomplished their work, these stone pieces were ready to be fixed in the building. We may assume that due to a large number of stones adorned with various floral and geometrical designs, they were also numbered to enable them to be placed in proper order.[50] Quite often the stone cutters themselves had the job of joining the stone-pieces together. Shaikh Zain informs us at the stone cutters so closely and expertly joined the stones in the buildings that ‘even the sagacity of the acute and subtle critics fell in state of amazement.’ He further states that the stone cutters accomplished this task of joining without use of any plastering material or iron.[51] The title of ustād (master) was also bestowed on such expert sang tarāsh. Thus Babur mentions one Ustād Shāh Muḥammad who was entrusted with the construction of a building at Dholpūr.[52]

A close study of Mughal monuments suggests a very interesting practice. The stones adorning the plinths, stairs, pavements etc. of the various monuments at Delhi, Agra and Fathpur Sīkri have certain marks carved on them. R.Nath designates them as the masons’ marks.[53] But they are surely stone-cutters’ marks. Whether each mark denoted a family of stone cutters or their respective guilds, we do not know.

Yet another craftsman who was important was the khwushnawīs or the calligrapher who was responsible for designing and executing inscriptions to be fixed on the building. Whether like a modern calligrapher he would execute his art on paper later to be transferred on stone by the naqqāsh and parchīnkār, we do not know. But from what we know, it seems, he was held in good esteem. It is only his name that time and again we find inscribed along with his work on the building. Thus one of the slabs on the main portal of the Tāj gives the name of Amānat Khān, the khwush-navīs.[54]

Yet another class of master-craftsmen and artisans was that of najjār  or durūdgar (carpenter).[55] Carpenters had the responsibility of constructing the doors and the windows. Some of the European accounts mention wooden houses,[56] and Abu’l Faẓl mentions wooden structures.[57] In his chapter on buildings, Abu’l Faẓl mentions the carpenters just after the stone-cutters. According to him, the carpenters were divided into two groups. The first group of durūdgar appear to be those who shaped and chiselled the wood. These he sub-divides into five categories. The second group, which he calls sādahkār or plain job-workers, who probably just shaped the planks etc, are divided into three categories. The man responsible for sawing the logs of wood was called ārah-kash (‘saw-driver’).[58] The need for carpenters in making windows would also have been considerably high due to the high cost of glass for the panes.[59]Abu’l Faẓl thus speaks of pinjarasāz who were the lattice and wicker workers who probably decorated the windows etc.[60] Whenever glass was used the services of tābdān tarāsh were required.[61]

The building under construction cannot be completed without the presence of artisans who have the expertise in digging and brick-laying. Thus our Persian sources have innumerable references to beldārs or ‘shovel wielders’.[62] A lofty building being constructed with the use of stone and bricks needed the service of the beldārs to dig its strong foundations. Then again, the mason busy in his work was in need of help of certain artisans to prepare the bricks and bring them to him. Thus, Abu’l Faẓl divides the beldārs into two categories. The first were those who helped in the construction, of walls and the second were ordinary diggers.[63] When the bricks were being cemented with the help of lime mortar, the services of a gilkār were required, a kind of lime-mixer or mortar-maker.[64] Another cementing material which was in vogue at that time was prepared with the help of surkhī or pounded bricks. This work of pounding the brick and mixing it with lime mortar was performed by surkhīkob or the brick-pounder.[65] The, tiles which were used in roofing the houses of the middle-income group were prepared by the khisht-tarāsh.[66] From the Mughal paintings it appears that most of these workers were ill-clad and went about – as in the present age – in a semi-clad condition with only a loin-cloth and c1oth-piece used to help in carrying load; the women carrying bricks are, on the other hand shown with blouses and short sarees.

Abu’l Faẓl also mentions a number of artisans who were required in the construction of thatched-houses and huts which were used as dwellings by the common people in the towns and countryside.[67] They included the chhappar-band (thatchers), bāns-tarāsh (bamboo-cutters) pātāl-band (reed-binders) and lakhīra (varnishers of reeds).[68]

The water needed for the construction work was supplied from the wells (chāh) which were dug by chāh-kan(well diggers) and frequently cleaned by yet another set of experts called ghoṭa-khor.[69] A worker was also needed to carry this water to the place where the mortar was being prepared. He was known as the ābkash (water-carrier).[70]

The practice of constructing water tanks and fountains near palaces and tombs was quite common. The water to these fountains was supplied through underground water channels and pipes. Our sources are silent as to their builders. In Persia, Afghanistan and other Central Asia, the experts who constructed these underground water pipes were known as mukhānis, chāhkhu, qumūsh or qārizkan.[71] Whether under the Mughals they were known by any of these names, we do not know.

Thus we see that the building establishment under the Mughals generally consisted of numerous categories of craftsmen each expert in his field, working under the command of a supervisor.

As far as the construction of Imperial buildings was concerned, there appears to have been some sort of a ‘contract’ system. Gopāl Rāi Surdaj includes in his work an istighāsa regarding the construction of two sarais between Narwar and Sironj, which mentions an amount set aside for the construction. It was from this amount that the salaries were to be paid and material bought by the building supervisor.[72]

Once the supervisor for the construction was chosen and an architect appointed the next step was to draw the plan. The actual work would start with the bēldār s digging the foundations. The masons would then raise the plinth over this foundation and then construct the walls. Mughal paintings abound in depictions of spades, hammers and other instruments which were used for these purposes. Some workers would busy themselves in preparing and mixing the mortar. Others would carry the bricks and the mortar to the masons. For the mortar, barrows carried by two workers, one on each side were utilized. For bricks, baskets were used. Wheel-barrows, not depicted, were presumably not in use. It also appears that the bricks needed for the building were and baked in kilns quite near the site of the building under the eyes of the Supervisor.[73] The paintings also depict the work of each category of worker being supervised by a person with a guiding stick in his hand. The use of ramp made of wood was also known along with the ladder, with the help of which the labourers could climb up to the level where the bricks were to be laid.

The embossers and carvers used iron chisels and hammers. Probably the ābkash used leather bucket (mashk) like the saqqas (water- carriers).

The practice of repairs of the old buildings is also referred to, despite Pelsaert’s statement that this was entirely neglected.[74] Thus we find Jahāngīr ordering ‘Abdul Karīm Mā’mūri, an architect, to repair ‘the buildings of the old kings’ at Māndu.[75] An iron plate inscription on the gate of the mausoleum of Sultān Hoshang Ghori (d. 838 A.H. / 1434-5 A.D.) at Māndu mentions a host of architects who went there for inspection.[76] In a very interesting letter to Shāhjahān, Prince Aurangzeb mentions the repair works being carried out at the Tāj Mahal whose ceiling had started leaking during the rains. He urged that there was greater need to pay attention to the repairs in order to safe-guard the ground structure.[77] Dealing with the repair-works going on at the Tāj, he writes:

“The architects (mi‘mār) are of the opinion that if the roof of the second floor is opened up and treated afresh with lime mortar over which half a gaz (yard) layer of mortar grout is laid (tehkāri) then probably the semi-domed portals, galleries and the small domes may be made water tight.”[78]

Aurangzeb then goes on to remark that the architects ‘confess their inability to fully repair the bigger Dome’.

Extract from the Sectional Presidential Address of Professor Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi to Medieval India Section of the Indian History Congress, JNU session, 2014



[1] See for example Lahori, Pādshāhnāma, Bib. Ind. ed., Calcutta, 1866-72, Vol. I, pt.i, p. 22l; Muhammad Salih Kambo, Amal-i Salih ed. G Yazdani, Calcutta. 1923, Vol. II, p. 294.

[2]  For the various categories of craftsmen involved in constructional.activity and their wages, see my “Organization of Building Construction in Mughal India”, paper presented at the Indian History Congress, Dharwar, 1988; see also A.J. Qaisar, Building Construction in Mughal India – The Evidence from PĀ’inting, Delhi, 1988.

[3] Gulbadan, Humayun Nama Tashkent, 1959, p. 17 Abu’l Faẓl, Akbar Nama, ed. Molvi Abdur Rahim, Calcutta, 1879, Vol. II, p. 247.

[4] Waris, Badshahnama, MS. Raza Library, Rampur, (transcript in the Department of History Research Library, AMU, Aligarh), Vol.I, p.38

[5] See for example the family of Lutfullah, Dīwān-i Muhandis, reproduced in Sayyid Sulaiman Nadwi, “The Family of the Engineers who built the Taj Mahal and the Delhi Forts”, The Journal of Bihar Research Society, Vol. XXXIV, Pts I & II, 1948, pp. 75-110 and M. Abdullah Chaghtai, “A Family of Great Mughal Architects”, Islamic Culture, Vol. XI, no. 2, April, 1937, 200-209

[6] Bāburnāma, ‘Abdur Rahīm’s Transl., Br. Lib. MS Or. 3714, ff. 412 B – 413 a; transl. A.S. Beveridge, London, 1921, vol. II, p. 520; See also Shaikh ZĀ’in Khawāfi, Ṭabaqāt-i Bāburi, tr. Hasan Askari, Delhi, 1982, p.134.

[7] Abu’l Fazl, Akbarnāma, ed. Abdur Rahim, Calcutta, 1886, Vol.II, p.247; Ārif Qandhārī, Tārīkh-i Akbarī, Rampur, 1962, p.145.

[8] Finch’s account in Early Travels in India, 1583-1619, ed. Foster, Oxford, p.121.

[9] Irfan Habib, “The Economic and Social Setting”, Marg, vol. XXXVIII, no.2 (special on Akbar and Fatehpur-Sikri), pp.79-80.

[10] Hidāyatullah Bihārī, Hidāyat ul Qawā‘id, Ms., University Collection, Azad Library, AMU,  f. 40(a).

[11] Ibid, f 40(b)

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid. For his responsibilities also see Gopāl Rāi Surdaj, Durrul ‘Ulūmf. 60(a) (Rotograph in the Research Library of the Department of History, Aligarh).

[14] Similar supervisory distinction can be seen in the canal construction work. The actual digging of the canal, building of dykes, the control and disbursement of wages to masons and artisans was the job of mir-i ab. See for example, Akbar’s sanad of 978 (1570-71) in Lieut., Yule, ‘A canal Act of the Emperor Akbar with some notes and remarks on the History of Western Jumna Canal’, JASB, l846, vol.XV, Calcutta, pp.213-23; also Memorandum on Chitung River (1635) contĀ’ined in Letters of Shaikh Jalāl Hisāri and Bālkrishan Braḥman, MS (Rotograph Deptt. of History). Badāūnī informs us that Nūruddin Muhammad Tarkhān, who was an expert in the science of ḥindsa, riyāzī and nujūm (arithmetic, geometry and astronomy) was appointed as mīr-i āb to dig Shah Nahr by Akbar (Badauni, Muntakhab-u Tawārīkh, ed. Molvi Ahmad Ali, Calcutta, 1869, Vol. IV, p. 197). After a canal was completed, it was placed under the charge of dārogha-i nahr who with the help of his gumāshtas and mutaṣaddis looked after its upkeep and collected the canal cess (nahrāna). He was also entitled to recruit labourers for the repair work. See, for example, B.N Goswami and J.S. Grewal, The Mughal & Sikh Rulers and the Vaishnavas of Pindori, IIAS, Simla, 1969, Document No. III, pp. 94-95; also J.S. Grewal, ‘Some Persian Documents from Nurpur’,  Historians Punjab: Miscellaneous Articles, Amritsar, 1974, pp. 79-80.

[15] Mughal Documents, Catalogue Of Aurangzeb’s Reign, ed. M.A. Naeem, Vol.1, Pt.I, document Nos. 1/204 arid 1/1468.

[16] Ibid., Document No. 1/96.

[17] Ibid., Document nos. 1/131, 1/151, 1/735.

[18] For example, Dīwān-iAfridiTarikh-i Taj MahalAhwal-i Taj Mahal etc. For their references and date of compilation see R. Nath, The Tal Mahal and its Incarnation, Jaipur, 1985; S.M. Latif, Agra: Historical and Descriptive, Calcutta, 1896 (new ed. pub. 1981), pp. 116-7; S.C. Mukherji, “Architecture of the Taj and its Architect”, Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol., I,1933, Calcutta, pp. 872-9, etc.

[19] Shaikh ZĀ’in Khawafi, Tabaqat-i Baburi, tr. Hasan Askari, Delhi, 1982, p.108.

[20] A plan of the houses of Santidas Sahu which were gifted by him survives in a hibanama, see M.A. Chaghtai’s article in JASP, op.cit.

[21] Manucci, II, p.146.

[22] Abul Qasim Namakin, Munshat-i Namakin, Aligarh Collection, Maulana Azad Library, AMU, no. farsiya 26, f. 133 (b)

[23] Wāris, Pādshāhnāma, Ms. (transcript Research Library, Department of History, AMU, Aligarh), p.39; see also Shāhnawāz Khān, Ma’āsir ul Umara, ed. Abdur Rahim & Ashraf Ali, Bib.Ind., Calcutta, 1881-91, III, p.463.

[24] Amal-i Sālih, op.cit., II, pp.471-72.

[25] Lāhori, II,op.cit., p.224; Amal-i Sālih, op.cit., II, p. 8

[26]  Munshi Malikzāda, Nigārnāma-i Munshi, Ms. No. 36, Research Library, Department of History, AMU, Aligarh, ff. 157 (a)-(b).

[27] Akhbār dated 43rd RY of Aurangzeb, Akhbār- darbār mu’alla, Royal Asiatic Society, London (microfilm Research Library, Department of History, AMU, Aligarh, no. 30)

[28] Amal-i Salih, op.cit., III, p.28.

[29] Ma’āsir ul Umara, op.cit., II, p.469; For the naqsha of a Deccan Fort sought to be captured by Aurangzeb, see, Kalimāt-i Taiyabāt, ed. Ināyatullah Khān, Ms., Aligarh Collection, Maulana Azad Library, AMU, Aligarh, farsiya,39, no. 278.

[30] Lahori, op.cit., Vol. II, pp. 323-31.

[31] Bayāẓ-i Khwushbūī, Ms. IOL Ethe 2784 (I.O.828); Rotograph copy in the Research Library, Department of History, AMU, ff. 108(a) – 111 (a).

[32] Bayaz-i Khushbuif. 108 (b). Suggestions are made for construction of tombs, minarets and garden-beds. For similar directions as to dimensions for buildings being built at Jaipur in 1720’s under the supervision of Vidhyadhar., the architect of Raja Jai Singh, see A.K. Roy, History of the Jaipur City, New Delhi, 1978, pp.41-42, 52.

[33] Gulbadari, Humayun Nama Tashkent, 1959, p.17; See also Abul Fazl, ed. Molvi Abdul Rahim, Calcutta, 1879, Vol. II, p. 247.

[34] Waris, Badshah Nama, Ms. Raza Library. Rampur (transcript copy in Research Library, Deptt. of History, AMU), vol., I, p. 38.

[35] Lutfullah Muhandis, Dīwān-i Muhandis, reproduced in Sayyid Sulaiman Nadwi, “The Family of the Engineers who built the Taj Mahal and the Delhi Forts”, The Journal of Bihar Research Society, Vol. XXXIV, Pts I & II, 1948, pp. 75-110 and M. Abdullah Chaghtai, “A Family of Great Mughal Architects”, Islamic Culture, Vol. XI, no. 2, April, 1937, 200-209.

[36] Mulla Abdul .Baqi Nahawandi, Ma’asir-i Rahimi, ed. M. Hidayat HusĀ’in, Calcutta, Vol. II, pp.610-11.

[37] Mathura Documents, dated 10 Jamadi I, 5th R.Y of Aurangzeb (,Xeroxed)

[38] See for example Akbarnāma pĀ’intings depicting the construction of Fathpur Sikri and Agra Fort preserved in Victoria and Albert Museum.

[39] See for example Lahori, Vol. I., Pt.i, p, 223.

[40] Dīwān-i Muhandis, op.cit.

[41] Some of his books which survive include (i) Risala-i Khawās-i a’dad, MS. BM 16744 / 3; (b) Sharh-i Khulāstul Hiṣāb, MS. Azad Library, AMU, Aligarh (2 copies).

[42] Dīwān-i Muhandis, op.cit.

[43] Ibid. In modern Persian also the term muhandis stands for an architect.

[44] Ahmad Ali Sandelvi, Makhazan-ul Gharāib, MS. Shibli Academy, p. 153.

[45] Tabaqāt-i Bāburi, op.cit., p. 134.

[46] Baburnāmah, ed. A.S. Beveridge, London, 1971, f. 291(b)

[47] Abul Fazl, A’in-i Akbari, Nawal Kishore, Vol.1, n.d. p. 117.

[48] Akbarnāma PĀ’intings, op.cit.

[49] For their separate skills see Lāhori, II, p.324; Ahwāl-i Tāj Mahal, Mirza Beg, (MS. Research Library, Deptt. of History, AMU); R. Nath, The Taj and its Incarnation, op.cit., pp. 40-41.

[50] Even today one can see the practice of numbering the stones at the Dayāl Bāgh Mandir at Agra which is under construction. As per the design, the stones are numbered before being handed over to the mason who has the job fixing them on the brick walls of the temple.

[51] Tabaqāt-i Bāburi, op.cit., p. 157.

[52] Babur Nama, op.cit., f. 339(b).

[53] R. Nath, The Taj Mahal and Incarnation , op.cit., p. 44; For the marks of professionals, including the stone cutters see Infra.

[54] See also Latif, Agra: Historical And Descriptive, op.cit., description of the Taj; . R.Nath, op.cit. pp. 41-2. Abdul Bāqi also mentions quite a few khushnawis and naqqāsh (calligraphist) see for example Ma’āsir-i Rahīmī, ed. Hidayat Hossein, 1925, Vol. III, p.1682.

[55] Abul Fazl used the term durūdgar for them. A’in, I, p. 117.

[56] Pelsaert, op.cit., p. 34; Bernier, op.cit., p.398.

[57] A’in, Vol. I, op.cit., p. 562; For the use of wood in houses an its importance see Hidāyat-ul Qawā’idop.cit., f. 40(b). For the expert carpenters of Calicut, see Pyrard, The Voyage of Francois Pyrard of Laval, tr. ed. Alfert Gray, Vol. I, n.d., London, p. 403.

[58] Ā’in. Vol.I, op.cit., pp. 117

[59] Fryer, op.cit., p. 92.

[60] Ā’in, op.cit., Vol. I, p. 117.

[61] Ā’in, op.cit., Vol. I, p.118

[62] See for example Bāburnāma, op.cit., f. 291(b); Tabaqāt-i Bāburi, op.cit., p.115; Lahori, I, op.cit.,p.323 Ali Muhammad Khan, Mīrāt-i Aḥmadi ed. Nawab Ali, Baroda, 1928, Vol.1, p. 276; M.A. Naeem, Mughal Document, Catalogue of Aurangzeb’s Reign, vol. I (1658-63), Hyderabad, 1980 

[63] Ā’in., op.cit., Vol. I, p. 117.

[64] Ibid. Interestingly he is placed the first in the list of artisans employed in the Building establishment.

[65] Ibid

[66] Ā’in., op.cit., Vol. I,  p. 118. For the use of tiles in mercantile houses at Ahmadabad see Jawaid Akhtar, ‘Merchants and Urban Property: A Study of Cambay Documents of the 17th-18th centuries: Professor R.N. Mehta Felicitation Volume, Jaipur, 1999

[67] For thatched huts of common people, see for example, Fr. J. Xavier’s Letter, JASB, n.s. no. XXIII, 1927, p. 125; Finch, Early Travels, p. 185; Tavernier, I, op.cit., pp.122,128. See also Badauni, op.cit., p.398 etc.

[68] A’in., op.cit., Vol. I,., pp. 117-8.

[69] Ibid

[70] Ibid

[71] See Iskandar Beg, ‘Ālam Ārā-i ‘Abbāsi, Isfahan, l956, Vol.I. p. 473 also The Encyclopaedia of Islam, (new edition), Vol. IV, Leiden, 1978, s.v. kanat.

[72] Durrul ‘U1ūmop.cit., ff. 60(a)-(b); See also Tuzuk-i Jahāngīrī ed. S.Ahmad Khan, Ghazipur, 1863, Vol. II, p. 347 where there is a mention of Jahangir giving Rs. 30, 000 to Haidar Malik to construct a canal. The amount was to be utilized for material and labour.

[73] Ibid., f. 60(b).

[74] Francisco Pelsaert, Jahangir’s India The Remonstratie, transl., W.H. Moreland & P.Geyl, Delhi, 2009, p. 56

[75] Lahori, Vol. I, op.cit., pp. 137,182.

[76] Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica, 1909-10, p. 23 cf. M.A Chaghtai, ‘A Family of Great Mughal Architects’ Islamic Cultureop.cit., p. 200.

[77] Abul Fath Qabil Khan, Ādāb-i ‘Ālamgīrī, ed. Abdul Ghafur Chaudhuri, Lahore (Pakistan), 1971, Vol. I, pp. 111-13.

[78] Ibid. Vol. I, p. 112.