Hindu naming traditions & popular names

Written by    Last updated: March 28, 2007

If you’re looking for spiritual inspiration when it comes to naming a new baby then look to Hinduism. Picking a name that corresponds to the exact moment of birth is an important element of the Hindu naming custom…

The exact second that a birth takes place is important according to Hindu astrology since the letters that the name is based on changes according to the star constellation or ‘nakshatra’ that a child is born under. The ancient yogis, who studied astronomy, laid down the astrological principles that are still followed today.  They divided the 360 degree zodiac into 12 houses of 30 degrees each and then subdivided each house into 27 nakshatras or star constellations.  Each nakshatra was then further subdivided into four quarters called ‘pada’, changing approximately every 13 minutes. That is why twins born even quarter of an hour apart may have different birth nakshatras and therefore different name initials.

The first names most often gain inspiration from the two major Hindu epics, the ‘Mahabharata’ and the ‘Ramayana’, which tell stories of heroes, heroines and deities.  Sometimes a name may reflect an aspect from Nature or refer to physical appearance.  Most Hindu names are written in the same order as in the West, except in certain parts of South India where, in a name such as S. Raman, the initial refers to the name of the father and what appears to be the surname is, in fact, the personal name of the person.

Some of the popular names for boys and girls

Name Gender Meaning
Aadi Boy first, beginning
Aditya Boy the sun
Ajay Boy invincible
Ajitabh Boy one who has conquered the sky
Alka Girl lock of curly hair
Alok Boy cry of victory
Aman Boy immortal
Amit Boy infinite
Amitabh Boy one with boundless splendour
Amol Boy priceless
Amrita Girl nectar
Anand Boy bliss
Ananya Girl matchless
Anisha Girl continuous
Anjali Girl offering
Annapurna Girl god of bread
Anshul Boy radiant
Anusha Girl beautiful morning, a star
Arjun Boy a tree; one of the Pandavas
Arun Boy the red morning sun
Ashwini Boy one of the star constellations
Avantika Girl princess of Ujjain
Avinash Boy indestructible
Balakrishna Boy young Krishna
Bali Boy mighty warrior
Bhaskar Boy Sun
Bhavesh Boy Lord of the world
Bhuvan Boy palace
Chandra Boy Moon
Chandrika Girl moonlight
Charanjit Boy one who has won over the Lord
Chetan Boy life
Deepak Boy lamp
Devendra Boy king of gods
Dharma Boy religious law
Dhiren Boy one who is strong
Dhruv Boy Pole star
Dilip Boy a king
Divya Girl heavenly
Ekta Girl unity
Gaurav Boy honour
Gayatri Girl singer
Gurudutt Boy gift of the guru
Hari Boy God
Hemant Boy name of a season
Himani Girl goddess Parvati
Hiranya Boy wealth
Ila Girl earth
Indra Boy supreme god
Indrakshi Girl the one with beautiful eyes
Indrani Girl wife of Indra
Ishan Boy Sun
Ishani Girl a lady
Jagmohan Boy one who attracts the world
Jaidev Boy god of victory
Janaki Girl Seeta, wife of Rama
Jaya Girl victory
Juhi Girl a flower
Jyotsna Girl moonlight
Kajal Girl black eyeliner
Kanan Boy forest
Kaushik Boy sentiment of love
Kiran Girl ray of light
Kushala Girl safe, happy
Lakshman Boy prosperous, brother of Rama
Lakshmi Girl wife of Vishnu
Leela Girl play
Mahendra Boy Indra
Mahima Girl greatness
Malavika Girl princess of Malawa
Mallika Girl queen
Manish Boy god of mind
Manu Boy founder father of humans
Manushri Girl Lakshmi
Maya Girl illuision, goddess Durga
Mira Girl a mythical princess
Mohan Boy charming
Nandika Girl Lakshmi
Neeharika Girl dew drops
Neel Boy blue
Neelam Girl sapphire
Neha Girl rain, love
Nihar Boy dew
Nivedita Girl one dedicated to service
Pallavi Girl new leaves
Paramjeet Boy highest success
Pavan Boy the wind
Pratima Girl icon
Priyadarshini Girl delightful to look at
Rajan Boy king
Raman Boy beloved
Ramani Girl beautiful girl
Rana Girl royal
Ravi Boy Sun
Rishi Boy name of a sage
Rohini Girl a star
Ruchi Girl taste
Rupin Boy embodied beauty
Sagar Boy Ocean
Sanjana Girl conscientious
Saurav Boy celestial
Shilpa Girl stone
Shreya Girl auspicious
Shyam Boy dark blue
Siddharth Boy white mustard
Suchita Girl beautiful
Suruchi Girl one with good taste
Sweta Girl fair beauty
Tanmay Boy engrossed
Tanushri Girl beauty
Tara Girl star
Tarun Boy youth
Tushar Boy fine drops of water
Ujjwala Girl bright, lustrous
Uma Girl bright
Upendra Boy an element
Urmila Girl wife of Lakshmana
Vaishali Girl name of an ancient city
Vinay Boy good manners
Yash Boy victory

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