Beautiful and Strong Indian Baby Names

As part of our Baby Names Around the World series, it only makes sense to spend time looking at the traditionally beautiful and strong baby names from India. With over 600 million speakers, there are over 1,600 languages and dialects in the region according to Berlitz. The Census of India of 2001 revealed that India has 122 major languages, 30 of which are spoken by more than a million people. It is important to point out that just like in the West, many of these names cross borders and languages. As non-native speakers, please keep in mind that we welcome input from our many users from India – we see you! Email us with your comments at

Many of the visitors to look for names that are rare or unique to their language. Some of the most overlooked names, however, are those from non-western countries, such as India. India has a long-standing tradition regarding Indian names and baby naming: given names have been essential for individualization, particularly since surnames in the past were chosen or reflective of caste. Sometimes, given names were spelled differently, even for the same person. Indian baby names may be split into two words, or be many joined together into one, such as Lila Devi or Liladevi (CIA, 1965). Of note, Devi is the middle name of our part-Indian U.S. Vice-President: Kamala Devi Harris.

Middle names often have a function for the first name. For instance, if a first name is gender neutral, the second name can help to identify the gender assigned at birth. Middle names can also reflect the father of a son, sometimes including his entire name.

Many of the male names are also female names by the change of a single letter. Examples include Lalita (F) and Lalit (M), Vimala (F) and Vimal (M), Aditi (F) and Adit (M).

Popular Indian baby names are often influenced by gods and goddesses, religious affiliation, and regional history. The meanings of Indian baby names are frequently characteristics (such as “pleasing” or “pure”), which is notable among many of the names presented below.

Traditionally Gender-Neutral Indian Baby Names

Name Meaning
Arya Noble
Bala Youthful
Chandra Moon
Devi Goddess
Hira Diamond
Jaya Victorious
Lakshmi Sign
Lila Playful
Maya Illusion
Saran Sanctuary
Satya Truthful
Shashi Owner of Rabbits

 Traditionally Female Indian Baby Names

Name Meaning
Aditi Free
Beena Musical Instrument/Wise
Gita Song
Indira Beautiful
Kalpana Fantasy
Lalita Sweet, Elegant
Leela Playful
Parvati Of the Mountains
Priyanka Amenable
Usha Dawn
Veena Musical Instrument
Vimla Pure

Traditionally Male Indian Baby Names

Name Meaning
Abhay Fearless
Ajay Unconquerable
Amar Long Life
Ashwin Horse Tamer, Light
Athavan Sun
Deepak Excitement
Dev/Deva God
Dharma* Divine Law
Ganesh Ruler
Karan Skilled or Smart
Krishna Black
Mayur Peacock
Narendra Ruler
Ram Attractive, Pleasant
Ravi Sun
Sachin Actual/Real

*Dharma is a traditionally male name in India; however, in the U.S., it has a female connotation due to the 2002 television show “Dharma and Greg” where Dharma was played by actress Jenna Elfman.

Favorites among these Indian baby names include Devi, Leela, and Beena for girls. For boys, I like Dev and Ashwin quite a bit. I think both could cross-over into the West. Of the gender-neutral Indian baby names, Arya, Maya, and Lila — all of which have multiple origins — are already commonly used in the U.S. My top choice for all the names is Ajay, which not only could become popular in the U.S. but across the globe. I also like its meaning, which is unconquerable. What are your favorites? Which do you think will trend up or down? Email us at


Mallory Moss is the co-founder of and co-host of The Baby Names Podcast, along with her sister Jennifer Moss. Mallory has a PhD in psychiatric nursing and has written articles for The Huffington Post on names and name trends. She has one grown daughter, Veronica, who lives in Austria.