Mahal a revenue unit in the Mughal fiscal and administrative divisions. In the account of Todar Mal's revenue settlement of Bengal as found in the ain-i-akbari, Bengal was divided into a number of sarkars and each sarkar was again divided into a number of parganas or mahals. A number of villages with more or les similar assessment rates constituted the fiscal unit known as mahal, also referred to as pargana. The important difference between the two terms lay in the fact that whereas the pargana denoted a fiscal-cum-territorial unit comprising a number of villages, the mahal in a more specific sense signified a purely fiscal unit such as mahal katra parcha. A pargana was under a faujdar, but a fiscal unit like mahal was independent. A pargana might include more than one mahal, but generally mahal was a single adminstrative unit.
Sometimes a mahal used to denote revenues of miscellaneous nature like jal-mahal (revenues accrued from fish products), Sayer mahal etc. [Abdul Karim]