has been a long ongoing controversy about the name of the chief
architect of the Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of architectural perfection.
Veroneo and Ustad Isa Afandi are the chief contestants proposed for the
credit. According to the Spanish monk, Father Sebastian Manrique,
Venetian Geronimo Veroneo, the famous jeweler was the chief architect.
Veroneo is known to have lived in Agra for many years and died at Lahore
in 1640. However, there are many loopholes in this theory. Apart from
the fact that his name has not been mentioned in any of the contemporary
Persian sources carrying names of various artists and craftsmen who
worked for Taj, even the travelogues written by the Europeans who passed
through Agra at the time mention Veroneo only as a skilled jeweler and
not in anyway connected with Taj.
Besides, no mention of Veroneo having ever learned architecture has
been found and it is well understood that only a person well versed in
architecture could have proposed and planned Taj. The second contestant
Ustad Isa Afandi has only been mentioned as the draftsman and not as
engineer or architect of Taj in the various Persian scriptures of those
times including the accounts of Lahauri. Other names that keep popping
up from time to time include the Turkish Isa Muhammad Effendi and
Persian architect, Ustad Ahmad, who had designed the Red fort. Yet, the
most historians agree that Shah Jahan himself was the main proponent of
Taj. To create this architectural wonder, he passionately coordinated
all the ideas, suggestions and projects presented to him by various
skilled artists, irrespective of their origin, whether they were French,
Turkish, Indian or Italian. Only vigilant and correct amalgamation of
myriad designs and opinions proposed by many masterminds put together
could create such an architectural balance and splendor.