Each parent has a different approach when it comes to choosing baby names. Some parents look to pop culture for baby name inspiration choosing pop icons or literary characters as an influence to give a name some heft. Others look back to their ancestors for baby name inspiration pulling names that belonged to great uncles or a beloved grandparent. But Indians, especially Hindus, prefer Hindi when it comes to naming their children.
Hindi, the official language of India, has a huge vocabulary catalog, with the tremendous power of expression. Since the lexicon is derived from four major languages – Sanskrit, Arabic, English, and Persian, we get a wide range of inspiration for baby names as well. The baby names derived from the Hindi language are classic, traditional, and fuse the cultural riches of India with the linguistic ancestry. Here are 25 popular Indian baby boy names that draw on the deep influences of Hindu and Sanskrit.
The name Adiya has Hindu origins and means “belonging to Aditi.” Aditi is a Hindu mother goddess who had seven children. This name is also closely related to all things sun.
Ganesh is a handsome name that means “god of the multitude” and has Sanskrit origins. The name of the elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom is rarely heard outside India but we’d love to see this name more.
Bodhi is a name with Sanskrit origins that means “awakening” or “enlightenment.” It relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed, and ego. The Bodhi tree is a fig tree from which Buddhism received its enlightenment.
Vihaan is a top 1000 baby name in the US. The name has both Sanskirt and Hindu origins and means “dawn.” The name carries symbolic meaning as the beginning of a new age.
Arjun is based on Arjuna, who was in Indian legend the son of the king of gods, a close friend of Lord Krishna, and considered the greatest warrior on earth. The name Arjun is one of the most beloved Indian names in the US, it sits in the top 500 most popular names for boys. Arjun has Hindi origins and means “bright.”
Reyansh has Hindi origins and means “ray of light.” One of the names of Lord Vishnu, Reyansh has been one of the fastest-growing names for boys in the US. It’s another top 1000 name and it’s easy to see why.
Ishaan is the guardian of the Northeast in the Hindu religion. Ishaan: Sapno Ko Awaaz De is a popular children’s television show in India about a teenage boy. The name has Hindi origins and means “the sun.” Again, another top 1000 name in the US.
Vivaan is a life-related name from India that has made its way onto the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2014. Vivaan has Hindi origins and means “full of life.” With such a vivacious meaning, it’s no surprise that this name has taken off in the US.
Amit is a popular name in two different cultures. The name has both Hebrew and Sanskrit origins and means “friend” or “infinite.”
Navin is a gorgeous Sanskrit name that means “new” or “novel.” The name can also be spelled Naveen and both are popular in India.
Kumar is a beautiful Sanskrit name that means “a boy, a son.” The origin of kumar can be traced back to the early development of Hinduism and its origin in ancient India. The first usage of Kumar was for the Four Kumāras, the four sons of Brahma from the Puranic texts of Hinduism named Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, and Sanat.
The name Nehru is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “canal.” Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and helps give this name stately appeal.
Rajah is an Indian princely title that sounds decadent. The name Rajah is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “prince, chief.”
In Hindu mythology, the Rishis are sages and seers. The name Rishi is a boy’s name of Sanskrit origin meaning “sage.” The late Rishi Raj Kapoor was a prolific Bollywood actor who starred as the romantic lead in over 92 films.
The name Taj is a boy’s name of Sanskrit origin meaning “crown.” Taj is a cool name reflecting the magnificence of the seventeenth-century Indian, Taj Mahal. Taj has actually made it onto the U.S. Top 1000 twice in 1976 and 1998.
The name Aakil is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “intelligent, smart.” The name is also popular among Muslim parents.
The name Dhani is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “rich.” ‘Dhani’ is a raga in north Indian classical music. Parents in the US might be familiar with this name because of longtime NFL linebacker Dhani Jones.
The name Neel is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “sapphire blue.” The name is much preferred to Neil because of its dazzling meaning.
If you’re looking for a nature-inspired baby name, look no further than Palash. The name Palash is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “flowery tree.” Palash also belongs to Butea monosperma a species of tree that’s known as the “flame-of-the-forest.”
Another name starting with P and having a lovely natural meaning is Pan. It’s a Hindi name meaning “leaf” or “feather.” For many in the West, Pan is the Greek god with the legs of a goat and the body of a pipes-playing man known for his mischievousness. However, Pan has wonderful Hindi roots as well.
The name Sahil is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “guide, leader.” Sahil Khan is a popular celebrity in India known for his acting roles and for promoting fitness awareness.
The name Kiran is a boy’s name of Sanskrit origin meaning “ray of light.” Ajay Sahgal and Kelli Williams named their son Kiran after his birth in 1998.
The name of the visionary second-century BCE Indian physician, a definer of diseases and believer in a sound mind and body: a worthy inspiration. Yes, go ahead and name your son for one of the key contributors to Ayurveda! The name Charaka is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “wanderer.”
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The fantastic name Ravi is a boy’s name of Hindi origin meaning “conferring.” Ravis is a title of the Hindu sun god, made cross-culturally famous by sitar player Ravi Shankar.
The winning name Sanjay is a boy’s name of Sanskrit origin meaning “triumphant.” In classic Hindu epics (Mahabharata), it was the name of the charioteer of King Dhritarashtra. The first and only female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi named her son Sanjay in 1946.
There you go! Popular Indian names that have storied Hindi and Sanskrit origins. These names are not only beautiful they each have a unique, and powerful meaning.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Aditya
- 2 24. Ganesh
- 3 23. Bodhi
- 4 22. Vihaan
- 5 21. Arjun
- 6 20. Reyansh
- 7 19. Ishaan
- 8 18. Vivaan
- 9 17. Amit
- 10 16. Navin
- 11 15. Kumar
- 12 14. Nehru
- 13 13. Rajah
- 14 12. Rishi
- 15 11. Taj
- 16 10. Aakil
- 17 9. Dhani
- 18 8. Neel
- 19 7. Palash
- 20 6. Pan
- 21 5. Sahil
- 22 4. Kiran
- 23 3. Charaka
- 24 2. Ravi
- 25 1. Sanjay
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