Ever wondered why a 'Kapoor' surname instantly opens doors in Bollywood?
Or why a 'Bachchan' surname has so much impact across India? Whether it is Bollywood or life, there's no denying the power of a name in India.
Names, especially Indian surnames, are mini-capsules of data. To the untrained ear, these names may seem mere like sounds. But Indian surnames hold in them critical clues of a person's historical, geographical, socio-political as well as economic and intellectual lineage. Here we list 100 Indian last names with their meanings and history.
Popular Indian Last Names
These last names are commonly found in India and beyond.
1. Bedi (Sanskrit origin) stems from Vedi, meaning 'one who is conversant with Vedas'.
2. Basu (Sanskrit origin) or Vasu, one of thousand names of Lord Vishnu and means one 'who resides in everything'.
3. Chopra (Punjab Origin) a descendant of Maharaja Chaupat Rai, celebrated for his heroic valor and courage.
4. Gupta (Sanskrit Origin) means 'one who is bound by duty to protect or govern', implying a King.
5. Iyer (Sanskrit Origin) has its roots in the Tamil word 'ayya' which comes from 'Arya' ultimately meaning 'a royal title'.
6. Joshi (Sanskrit Origin) stems from Hindu surnames derived from Jyotish, meaning 'one who leads us into the light'.
7. Jha (Sanskrit Origin) is common to India and Nepal. It means 'teacher' or 'reciter'.
8. Jain (Indian Origin)is a follower of Jainism. It is derived from 'Jina', one who rises above challenges.
9. Kumar (Sanskrit Origin) is one of many names of Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva. It means 'prince'.
10. Kapoor (Punjab Origin)originating from the Khatri-community, it means 'progeny of the moon'.
11. Kulkarni (Marathi & Kannada Origin) is a native surname of Maharashtra meaning 'head clerk of a hamlet'.
12. Khanna (Punjab Origin) descendants of Khan Chand.
13. Malhotra (Punjab Origin)is a typical North Indian surname which is a variant of Mehrotra.
14. Mehta (Sanskrit Origin) a term of respect for officials. It can also denote Guru or account keeper.
15. Naidu (Telugu-Sanskrit Origin) conjunction of 'Nayak + du' meaning 'chieftain or head of a village'.
16. Pandey (Sanskrit Origin) is derived from 'Pandit' meaning 'an intellectual'.
17. Patel (Gujarati Origin)is a Hindu community of wealthy farmers and merchants. It originally meant 'village-chief'.
18. Pillai (Tamil Origin) is a noble title bestowed by the royal families of Kerala. It means 'heir to the royal throne'.
19. Reddy (Telugu Origin) is amongst family names known for their 'forward-thinking'.
20. Saxena (Sanskrit Origin)is the anglicized version of 'sakhisena' meaning 'supporters of the army'.
21. Seth (Indian Origin) signifies a Hindu person of the mercantile community like a banker.
22. Shah (Persian Origin) a grand public figure, i.e. a King. In Gujarati, it refers to 'the merchant'.
23. Sharma (Sanskrit Origin)stems from 'sarman' meaning 'joy, mirth, or poise'.
24. Singh, (Sanskrit Origin) the most common Indian surname, is Sanskrit for 'Lion-hearted'.
25. Varma (Sanskrit Origin) means 'armor' implying a community committed to protecting a place, its people and culture.
Unique Indian Last Names
Names in India signify the region a person originates from, their ethnicity, as well as, the virtues most valued by a community. We have compiled a list of the more unique Indian last names. Each of these names has a rich cultural heritage attached to it.
26. Acharya (Sanskrit Origin) denotes an enlightened person, a spiritual guru or teacher.
27. Adhikari (Hindu Origin) one who has rightfully earned his position/title, e.g. priest or an officer.
28. Agarwal (Hindu Origin)are residents of Agroha, descendants of King Agra Sen.
29. Agnihotri (Sanskrit Origin) Indian Brahmin surnames, a community responsible for keeping the sacred fire (Agni) aflame during sacred rituals.
30. Apte (Marathi Origin) derived from Apta, refers to 'those who lived beside the orchid tree'.
31. Bajwa (Punjab Origin) tribe of the hawk-carrying people.
32. Bakshi (Punjab Origin) an official responsible for making payments to soldiers/workers.
33. Bal (Sanskrit origin) literally translates to 'strength or power'.
34. Balakrishna (Sanskrit origin) refers to Lord Krishna in a child's avatar.
35. Bandhopadhyay (Bengali - Sanskrit origin) is a teacher who hails from the region of Bandhoghat.
36. Bawa (Punjab origin) refers to Saraswat Brahmins hailing from Bawanjai, i.e. 52 distinct gotras or lineages.
37. Bhagat(Punjabi-Sanskrit origin) stems from 'Bhagavata' meaning 'one who has devoted his life unto God'.
38. Bhalla (Punjab Origin)literally translates to 'kind-hearted or protector'.
39. Bhandari(Sanskrit origin) is the 'guardian of the treasury' or simply 'treasurer'.
40. Dave(Sanskrit origin) family name common to Gujarat. It means 'one who has knowledge of two Vedas'.
41. Dayal (Sanskrit origin) Indian last name that stems from 'dayalu' meaning 'altruistic and kind'.
42. Desai (Sanskrit origin) means 'a master or landlord'.
43. Fadnavis (Marathi Origin) Indian surname meaning 'list-maker' or 'one with the powers of a minister of finance'.
44. Gaidher (Indian Origin) or Gajdhers were the chief architects of the regions of Gujarat, Kutch and Rajasthan.
45. Godbole (Marathi Origin) is the last name that literally means 'one with a sweet dialect'.
46. Guha (Bengali-Hindu Origin) an epithet of Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Ancient Indian Last Names
Our time on earth may be fleeting, but our family names stand the test of time. These popular family names not only tell the faith one follows but are also chosen with the hopes that the said deity will protect and guide the person.
47. Arya (Sanskrit Origin) is the last name that means 'aristocratic'.
48. Awasthi (Indian Origin) is a family name for followers of Sage Vashist and belonged to the land of Awadh.
49. Bharadwaj (Sanskrit Origin) descendants of Sage Bharadwaj or 'one who has strength and agility'.
50. Amin (Arabic Origin) means 'one who is loyal, honest and dependable'.
51. Bhargava (Sanskrit Origin) denotes progeny of the great sage Bhrigu.
52. Bhatt (Sanskrit Origin)is a community who were originally learned, men or priests.
53. Bhattacharya (Sanskrit origin) is a Bengali Brahmin Vedic priest or teacher.
54. Chakravarti (Sanskrit Origin)is a royal king whose chariot goes unchallenged.
55. Chattopadhyay (Sanskrit origin) denotes a guru who comes from the Chatta region of Bengal.
56. Chowdhury (Sanskrit Origin) is one of many names by which a landlord or village head is known.
57. Chabbra (Punjab Origin)is a family name of both Hindus and Sikhs. It is a branch of the Arora family name.
58. Chadha (Punjab Origin)comes under Hindu-Khatri surnames.
59. Deora (Indian Origin) means 'sons of a strong yet kind Devi'.
60. Deshmukh (Sanskrit Origin)is the chief of a district.
61. Deshpande, (Marathi Origin)Maharashtrian Brahmin surnames meaning 'tax collector'.
62. Dubashi (Sanskrit Origin) is a fusion of do, i.e. two and bhashi, i.e. linguist; meaning 'one is bilingual'.
63. Gairola (Indian Origin) are believed to be royal astrologers.
64. Ganguly (Bengali-Sanskrit Origin) is a popular Bengali surname meaning 'teacher who hails from Ganga village'.
65. Garg (Indian Origin) followers of the ancient Hindu Sage Garg.
66. Kapadia (Sanskrit Origin) literally means 'cloth merchant'.
67. Mehra (Indian Origin) an Indian surname signifying descendants of the sun god.
68. Mishra (Sanskrit Origin) is one of those surnames which literally mean a blend of ethnicities.
69. Mukhopadhyay (Sanskrit Origin) one of the Bengali surnames meaning 'the principal teacher'.
70. Shukla (Sanskrit Origin) stands for 'the radiance of the sun'.
71. Trivedi (Sanskrit Origin) is a scholar of three Vedas.
More Indian Last Names
Names are dynamic in nature. Some names are at the top of our minds, some names we easily forget. We have compiled a list of trendy Indian last names and family names for you.
72. Ahluwalia (Punjab Origin) a popular last name which denotes an offspring of a resident of Ahlu village.
73. Ahuja (Punjab Origin)names of people who originally belong to the Ahu region
74. Arora (Punjab Origin) is related to the region of 'Aror'.
75. Chaturvedi (Indian Origin) is one who has mastered all four Vedas.
76. Chawla(Punjab Origin) is a shared family name between Hindus and Sikhs and is a branch of the Arora community.
77. Das (Sanskrit Origin) a Bengali last name meaning 'a devoted disciple'.
78. Dewan (Arabic Origin) Mughal chief officer who oversaw the royal treasury.
79. Dhar (Sanskrit Origin) surname denoted to a Kashmiri or Bengali person of high social standing.
80. Dhawan (Punjab Origin) the emissary of important messages on the battlefield.
81. Dutta (Indian Origin) signifies the brilliance of the sun.
82. Dwivedi (Sanskrit Origin) implies a scholar of two Vedas.
83. Gill (Multiple Origin)is a Punjabi surname signifying prosperity.
84. Gokhale (Indian Origin) a Maharashtrian surname meaning 'a round window or point of view'.
85. Ghosh (Sanskrit Origin) literally means 'a cowherd' in Bengali.
86. Gandhi is a merchant community. They may be grocers or chemist.
87. Johar (Sanskrit Origin) in Sanskrit this name means 'jewel'.
88. Kakkar is an epithet for 'powerful or robust'.
89. Kaul (Sanskrit Origin)is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Kula' means 'lineage'. So 'one who comes from good lineage'.
90. Kaur (Punjab Origin)a Sikh epithet for a girl meaning 'one of royal lineage'.
91. Kashyap,(Sanskrit Origin) derived from a great sage; it means 'the wisdom of a tortoise and agility of a deer'.
92. Khan is a family name that was a title given to a chief in ancient times.
93. Khanna (Punjab Origin) signifies the protective characteristics of a 'Khand' or sword.
94. Khatri(Punjab Origin) is a Punjabi family name denoting Kshatriya (King).
95. Kocchar means 'armor of a brave warrior'.
96. Kohli (Punjab Origin) an Indian surname found in both Hindus and Sikhs, belonging to Khatri community.
97. Krishna is a popular surname in south India denoting 'one who emulates the traits of Lord Krishna'.
98. Lal is an oft-quoted nickname for Lord Krishna in his child's avatar.
99. Mahajan (Indian Origin) means 'a reputed person'.
100. Malik (Arabic Origin)denotes the prestige of a King.
101. Nehru means 'one whose residence lies beside a nehr or canal'.
102. Rana is the male equivalent of Rani, meaning 'Queen'. So, Rana implies 'King'.
103. Saini (Indian Origin) this surname was given to army chiefs.
104. Sethi (Sanskrit Origin) stems from 'Sreshti', 'one who belongs to the mercantile community'.
105. Tagore comes from 'Thakur' meaning 'master'.
106. Talwar (Punjab Origin) was a family name for 'one who was an accomplished swordsman'.
107. Tandon is a family name that mean 'the sun warrior'.
Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Indian last names then why not take a look at these Cambodian baby names, or for something different take a look at these city names for girls?
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