Hindu naming traditions & popular names

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

NameGenderMeaning
AadiBoyfirst, beginning
AdityaBoythe sun
AjayBoyinvincible
AjitabhBoyone who has conquered the sky
AlkaGirllock of curly hair
AlokBoycry of victory
AmanBoyimmortal
AmitBoyinfinite
AmitabhBoyone with boundless splendour
AmolBoypriceless
AmritaGirlnectar
AnandBoybliss
AnanyaGirlmatchless
AnishaGirlcontinuous
AnjaliGirloffering
AnnapurnaGirlgod of bread
AnshulBoyradiant
AnushaGirlbeautiful morning, a star
ArjunBoya tree; one of the Pandavas
ArunBoythe red morning sun
AshwiniBoyone of the star constellations
AvantikaGirlprincess of Ujjain
AvinashBoyindestructible
BalakrishnaBoyyoung Krishna
BaliBoymighty warrior
BhaskarBoySun
BhaveshBoyLord of the world
BhuvanBoypalace
ChandraBoyMoon
ChandrikaGirlmoonlight
CharanjitBoyone who has won over the Lord
ChetanBoylife
DeepakBoylamp
DevendraBoyking of gods
DharmaBoyreligious law
DhirenBoyone who is strong
DhruvBoyPole star
DilipBoya king
DivyaGirlheavenly
EktaGirlunity
GauravBoyhonour
GayatriGirlsinger
GuruduttBoygift of the guru
HariBoyGod
HemantBoyname of a season
HimaniGirlgoddess Parvati
HiranyaBoywealth
IlaGirlearth
IndraBoysupreme god
IndrakshiGirlthe one with beautiful eyes
IndraniGirlwife of Indra
IshanBoySun
IshaniGirla lady
JagmohanBoyone who attracts the world
JaidevBoygod of victory
JanakiGirlSeeta, wife of Rama
JayaGirlvictory
JuhiGirla flower
JyotsnaGirlmoonlight
KajalGirlblack eyeliner
KananBoyforest
KaushikBoysentiment of love
KiranGirlray of light
KushalaGirlsafe, happy
LakshmanBoyprosperous, brother of Rama
LakshmiGirlwife of Vishnu
LeelaGirlplay
MahendraBoyIndra
MahimaGirlgreatness
MalavikaGirlprincess of Malawa
MallikaGirlqueen
ManishBoygod of mind
ManuBoyfounder father of humans
ManushriGirlLakshmi
MayaGirlilluision, goddess Durga
MiraGirla mythical princess
MohanBoycharming
NandikaGirlLakshmi
NeeharikaGirldew drops
NeelBoyblue
NeelamGirlsapphire
NehaGirlrain, love
NiharBoydew
NiveditaGirlone dedicated to service
PallaviGirlnew leaves
ParamjeetBoyhighest success
PavanBoythe wind
PratimaGirlicon
PriyadarshiniGirldelightful to look at
RajanBoyking
RamanBoybeloved
RamaniGirlbeautiful girl
RanaGirlroyal
RaviBoySun
RishiBoyname of a sage
RohiniGirla star
RuchiGirltaste
RupinBoyembodied beauty
SagarBoyOcean
SanjanaGirlconscientious
SauravBoycelestial
ShilpaGirlstone
ShreyaGirlauspicious
ShyamBoydark blue
SiddharthBoywhite mustard
SuchitaGirlbeautiful
SuruchiGirlone with good taste
SwetaGirlfair beauty
TanmayBoyengrossed
TanushriGirlbeauty
TaraGirlstar
TarunBoyyouth
TusharBoyfine drops of water
UjjwalaGirlbright, lustrous
UmaGirlbright
UpendraBoyan element
UrmilaGirlwife of Lakshmana
VaishaliGirlname of an ancient city
VinayBoygood manners
YashBoyvictory

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