Was Taj Mahal designed by an Italian architect? To know about the myth and legend of the Italian Architect of Taj, read this article.

Italian Architect of Taj Mahal Myth

Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal of Agra that has been illuminating heavenly for the past three centuries and more, and attracting and inspiring millions of people from across the world. It was built up by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who wanted his beloved wife to be remembered by one and all, with help of architectural geniuses like Ustad Isa, Isa Mohammad Effendi and Puru of Persia. The result that came across was a fine piece of Mughal architecture, fused with Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles; or is believed so by many. Who is Geronimo Veroneo then? From where did he originate and why is he even in the frame? The myth or legend surrounding the Taj Mahal has it that it was built by an Italian architect by the name of Geronimo Veroneo, who is believed to have lived in Agra for many years and died in Lahore in 1640. How much substance is in this theory, we'll read about in paragraphs to come.

The theory of a Venetian named Geronimo Veroneo being the architect of Taj Mahal has often been touted by a few European scholars, particularly the historians of Italy who claim Taj being designed by an Italian architect. The first person to suggest this theory of an Italian Architect of the Taj Mahal was a Spanish monk by the name of Father Sebastian Manrique, an Augustinian Friar whose purpose in India was to secure the release of Father Antony, who was being held as a prisoner by the Mughals in Lahore. And it was here in Lahore that he met the executor of Geronimo, named Father Joseph De Castro. It was Castro who told Father Sebastian about a famous Venetian jeweler who came to India in the Portuguese ships but died on his way in Lahore and was later buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery Padres Santos in Agra.

This is the only connection that both Geronimo Veroneo and Father Sebastian Manrique had with India and doesn't prove anything beyond that they were in India at some point of time when Taj Mahal was being constructed. There are other loopholes in the theory that prove that there was no Italian connection to the Taj Mahal in any which way. First, the name Geronimo Veroneo does not appear in any of the contemporary Persian sources that carry names of various artisans who worked on Taj Mahal. And second, many Europeans who passed through Agra during the construction of Taj Mahal only mention Geronimo Veroneo as a skilled jeweler in their travelogues. Moreover, Shah Jahan, whose one title among the many was "the builder of the marvels" is known have been actively involved in the construction of Taj Mahal and coordinated everything. Lastly, it is difficult to accept that an artist trained in Italy, could build a tomb as per Indo-Persian architecture.