Indian names have a similar pattern to Western names. The given name comes first and the family name follows. Sometimes there is a middle name, which is usually the father's name.
Let's take Mahatma Gandhi's name as an example: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Mohandas is the first name, Karamchand is his father's name, and Gandhi is the family name (surname).
Indian Surnames and Their Castes
Many Indian surnames are related to the caste system. People in Indian society are divided into four castes according to their occupation, namely Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra.
- The Brahmin, whose task is to master and impart knowledge and administer sacrifices, have the highest rank.
- The role of the Kshatriyas (ranked second) is to hold the throne, to serve as soldiers, and to defend society.
- The Vaisya, whose task is to run commerce and agriculture, are the third class.
- The task of the Sudras is to serve the above three types of people. Artisans and craftsmen belong to this category, and they have the lowest social status.
Some surnames used by each caste are exclusive and caste-role-related, and therefore they indicate the family's caste status. For example, surnames used by the Brahmin are generally related to the Vedas, the Hindu classics, the major gods, or words denoting dignity.
The family names of the Kshatriya are generally related to weapons or words of authority and valor.
The surnames of the Vaisya are often associated with trade and wealth. People of Sudra caste can only use words such as carpenter and shoemaker as surnames to indicate their status.
Here are some common surnames used by the four castes:
- Brahmin: Sharma, Trivedi, Vyas, and Pandit
- Kshatriya: Thakker, Rajput, Singh, Thakor, and Verma
- Vaisya: Gupta, Modi, Seth, Gandhi, Shah, Ghaggar, and Goal
- Sudra: Ambedkar, Solanki, Chamar, Nayi, and Lohar
There are also many surnames unrelated to caste like Kumar. In most cases in India, surnames also indicate the family's religion. For example, "Singh" is mostly a Sikh surname. If someone's surname is Khan, then s/he's probably a Muslim.
Many Indian women change their surnames to their husbands' when they get married.
Indian First Names
In India, a first name (given name) is the name people use at work, or the one they use when introducing themselves to strangers (informally). Indians' given names are chosen to have positive and good meanings.
Many parents, especially of Hindu families, choose a name based on the constellations (Nakshatra) and consult astrologers to help with choosing the right name for their baby.
Some Indians have a middle name, which is usually his/her father's name.
If someone is against the caste system, it is very likely that they will drop their surname and use their middle name as their new surname.
You may see some Indian (Tamil) names with initials. This is common in South India. In this case, the first letter of the initials is usually the first letter of his/her birth place, the second letter the person's father's name's initial, and this is followed by the surname.
The Name Ceremony
In India, typically there is a name ceremony on the tenth day, eleventh day, hundredth day, or first birthday of a baby.
The baby's naming ceremony (Namakarana) in a Hindu family is performed in front of a sacred fire in a temple or by inviting a priest to their home.
In the ceremony, the father writes the baby's name with a gold staff and prays to the gods to bless the new baby. The newborn is then cradled by the grandmother, who whisper the baby's name in the infant's ear.
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From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
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Ms. Ning first review 4-2023
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Thailand & Cambodia 2022
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2023 Chiang Mai CAD Yipeng Festival
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Parents also give cute nicknames to their kids. Close friends and family often continue to use the nickname even when he/she is an adult.
Besides cute kid names, nicknames could simply be a short form of a given name, like Akki, which is short for Akshit.
How to Address an Indian Person
In India, you would usually call a man by his surname and a woman by her given name. This is because many women change their surnames to their husbands'. So, it is clearer to call her by given name (especially when both husband and wife are present).
Polite expressions in English can also be used in India, such as "Mr." or "Mrs.". Another local popular polite expression is to add "Ji" behind the name which shows the respect, like "Tomji" or "Amyji".
There is also a special taboo in India. The wife cannot call her husband by his name, which is considered disrespectful. Wives usually use Babuji (meaning ‘father of the baby') or ‘you', instead of using their husband's name.
This is because, in traditional Indian society, the status of the husband is higher than the wife's. Indian women are told to respect their husbands from a very young age.
But now in some big cities in India, some highly educated women are breaking this "rule".
The Most Popular Indian Names and Their Meanings
Here are some of the most popular and beautiful Indian names for girls and boys.
The names, whether for girls or boys, mainly focus on common themes such as beauty, divinity, and nature, and some relate to religious beliefs/practice.
50 Popular Indian Female/Girl Names
|Hasina||Good or beautiful|
|Niranjana||Night of the full moon|
|Niesha||Alive and well|
|Abhaya||Has no fear|
|Chella||Liking for all; meadow on a ledge|
|Anusha||God has favored me|
|Azha||Sunrise; goat; star|
|Yanisha||One with high hopes|
|Sona||Gold; wisdom; beautiful|
|Ishani||Desire; Goddess Durga, Parvati|
|Amar||Immortal one; Eternal|
|Heena||Sensuous; beautiful woman|
20 Less-Common but Brilliant Indian Girl/Female Names
|Aarushi||First ray of the sun|
|Advaita||Union of matter and soul, Non-duality, Unique|
|Nainika||pupil of the eye|
|Sagareka||The waves in the ocean|
|Tarana||Daytime; meaning bring a sense of warmth and hope|
|Safa||Innocent and pure|
|Zoya||Love and care|
50 Popular Indian Boy/Male Names
|Aadrik||The sun rising between the mountains|
|Adhyan||One who is rising|
|Chetan||Intelligence; vigor; spirit of life|
|Darshil||One who is good-looking, attractive, and sober|
|Eklavya||loyal and brave student of Dronacharya in the Mahabharata epic|
|Gautam||Wisest; another name for Lord Buddha|
|Hari||The one who removes evil; another name for Lord Krishna|
|Harsh||Joy; excitement; happiness|
|Ishank||Peak of the mighty Himalayas|
|Ivaan||Glorious and gracious gift of God|
|Jeet||One who overcomes all his problems|
|Kavyansh||Wisdom and intelligence|
|Lalit||Handsome, charming, and graceful|
|Manvik||A kind-hearted individual|
|Mohan||One who can mesmerize people around him by his style, charm, and looks|
|Naitik||A good-natured individual with great morals|
|Nikit||One who is honest and has divine wisdom|
|Nirved||A gift from the gods|
|Pratyush||A person who is bright and radiant like the sun|
|Ranveer||Winner; one who is a hero of the battle|
|Sathvik||Calm and virtuous|
|Shaurya||Bravery and power|
|Sumedh||Intelligent and clever|
|Vatsal||Adorable and affectionate|
|Vinay||Humble and modest|
|Yashvir||Brave and glorious|
|Anshu||Ray of sun|
|Ruan||Sandalwood; red; raising; ascending, tall|
|Praneel||Lord Shiva; kind; benign; auspicious|
20 Best Indian Boys/Male Names that are Less-Common
|Madhavaditya||Of the springtime|
|Purav||Singing or chanting voice that comes from the East at sunrise|
|Miransh||Small part of the ocean|
|Nishad||Seventh note on the Indian musical scale|
|Omkar||Sacred syllable of Hindus|
|Rakshan||Protector; Preserver; 928th name of Lord Vishnu.|
|Prathmesh||The best of the best among all gods|
|Prateek||The first word in a sentence|
|Anshul||One who is bright, radiant, and glows like a sunbeam|
|Anvit||One who leads/guides others|
|Kshitij||The point where the earth and the sky meet|
|Prabhas||Brilliant or lustrous|
|Riddhiman||One who has good fortune|
|Ehsaan||An act of compassion|
|Divit||Someone immortal or reaching the sky|
10 Unisex Indian Names
|Chaila||Handsome and charming|
|Chandlan||Beautiful and everlasting moon|
Touring India with Us
Taking a trip to India is a great way to delve into and start learning about India's unique language(s), values, and customs. See our popular India tours:
- 7-Day Golden Triangle India Tour
- 9-Day India Golden Triangle with Tiger Safari
- 11-Day India Highlights and Goa Honeymoon Trip
- 14-Day Classic Rajasthan Tour
We offer a customized travel service. All our tours can be adjusted. Just contact us to tell us your needs.
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.