When thinking of baby names, you’ll want to consider every source. And whether you’re religious or not, the Hindu religion has a wealth of beautiful baby names that have strong, amazing meanings and stories behind them. The religion provides a rich treasure trove of beautiful names, however, many of which would make a good baby name no matter what (if any) religious background you have.
Many Hindu names are derived from the languages of Hindi and Sanskrit, which both belong to the Indo-European family of languages. English is also an Indo-European language so, while there are many differences between Hindi, Sanskrit, and English, all of these languages are still connected. Some of these names are quite popular, while others are unique. No matter what you’re looking for in a baby name, this list will likely offer something to meet your needs. These Hindu baby names aren’t just gorgeous, rolling right off of the tongue, but they also each come packed with a rich and meaningful history.
The name Ila is short, sweet, and pretty much everything you could ever want in a baby name. Meaning “earth” or “speech” in Sanskrit, this is a good name for a little girl who you hope stays grounded for life, or who you want to develop powerful public speaking skills. In Hindu tradition, Ila is the ancestor of the human race. The name Ila also has French roots; in that language, it means “from the island.”
This simple moniker was fairly widespread in the United States through the first half of the twentieth century, where it fell in the top 1000 baby names for girls every year until 1953. At its peak, Ila was the 237th most popular name for girls, a rank it reached in 1903. If you’re wondering why the name sounds so familiar, it might be because you are thinking of actress and author Isla Fisher, whose first name is only one (silent) letter away from Ila.
There are a lot of beloved male names that end in a “k” sound. The hard consonant ending gives these names a powerful kick, which perhaps helps to explain why they are so enduringly popular. These bold names include such classics as Eric (also spelled Erik), Derek, Patrick, Mark, and Kendrick. You probably know at least a couple of people who bear one of these names. As distinguished and timeless as they are, many parents might want to go down a different path for their new baby boys, especially those who have an affinity for names that are less common. Fortunately, there’s Kartik.
The name Kartik is derived from the Sanskrit word “krittika,” which is the name for the constellation known to Western astronomy lovers as the Pleiades. Another version of the name, Kartikeya, is an alternate name for the Hindu god Skandi. How can you resist a name that comes with its own built-in star power?
You might recognize the name Tara as the name of Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation in Gone With the Wind. The name pays homage to Scarlett’s Irish roots. Tara is a hill with special significance in Irish history, as it was used as a meeting place where it is believed kings were crowned. It also served as an ancient burial ground as well as a fort, securing its place in Irish legend.
The Irish don’t have a monopoly on this gorgeous name, though. Tara is also a Hindu name, which comes from the Sanskrit word for “star.” Tara is the name of a Hindu goddess, the wife of the creator deity Brihaspati. After being abducted by the moon god Soma, a war between the gods broke out. It only ended when Tara was finally released and returned to her husband. Tara is also a powerful figure in Buddhism, where she is thought to protect both spiritual and earthly travel and enlightenment.
Rohan is a name derived from the Sanskrit word “ascending,” and is the name of a king in Hindu tradition. Rohan is a wonderful cross-cultural name choice as there is also the Irish spelling variation of the name: Rowan. The Irish version is often used as a gender neutral name, while Rohan is typically only used as a male name.
The name Rohan is quite popular in England, Wales, and the United States. In England and Wales the moniker frequently makes it onto top baby name charts for baby boys, as it does in the United States where it has slowly been climbing up the baby name charts over the last few years. In terms of its connection to pop culture, the name Rohan has quite the powerful association: if you’ve read Lord of the Rings or watched the film adaptation, you might be familiar with the fictional land of Rohan.
This lovely name is a feminine variation of the name Samir, which means “wind” or “air” in Sanskrit. Samir is on the rise in the United States, where it first popped up on the baby name charts in the late 1970s. While it isn’t wildly popular today, it has consistently placed on the charts since 1997, and came in at a 2017 rank of 718. Samira was on the charts for baby girls from 2002 to 2005, before disappearing for more than a decade only to make a comeback in 2017 when it suddenly reappeared on the charts, ranking at 991.
Since the turn of the 21st century, the name has also been spotted on baby name charts in England, Wales, France, Italy, Portugal, and Switzerland. The widespread use of Samira indicates that this name is ready to hit the mainstream on a national scale, making this a good time to use the name for your little girl.
Lila comes from Sanskrit and means “play” or “amusement.” While philosophers debate over the exact role that Lila plays in Hinduism, one theory is that it describes the playful relationship between the earthly and the divine. The name can also be written as Leela, a spelling variation that appeared on charts in England and Wales in 2015.
Lila has made the charts in England and Wales, and quite popular in France, ranking in the top 100 names for girls. There, it is used as a variation of the names Leila and Layla, which mean “night” in Arabic. Lila also has a long history in the United States, and started being used as a baby name at least since the Social Security Administration began keeping track of baby names in 1880. In that year, Lila came in at 254 and has been on and off the charts since then; in 2017, the name ranked at 210.
When it comes to masculine Hindu names, Brahma is about as powerful a name as you can find. While it has yet to find its way on to baby name charts in Western countries, its strong roots make this name a serious contender if you’re looking for a unique name. Brahma means “growth,” “expansion,” and “creation,” in Sanskrit, which makes sense given that Brahma is also the name of a Hindu god.
According to Hindu tradition, Brahma is a creator god who created the universe. He is thought to balance the other two gods of the Hindu triumvirate, Vishnu and Shiva. Shiva’s role is to destroy the universe in order for it to be re-created, while Vishnu is the god who preserves the universe. In spite of Brahma’s important role in Hinduism, in modern times he is often overlooked and, of the three gods of the triumvirate, has the least number of devotees with only two standing temples dedicated to him in India.
The name Arya’s roots go to an Indo-Iranian word meaning “noble.” In India, the name is used for both boys and girls and has also been adopted as the name of a Hinduism reform sect called Arya Samaj. The name is also used in Persian, and in that language Arya is typically used exclusively for boys. Arya can also be spelled as Aria, another name which has seen widespread use as a girls name throughout the world.
In a few years, you aren’t going to be able to go anywhere without hearing the name Arya. It’s on the rise in quite a few countries, including the United States. It first appeared on the U.S. baby name charts in 2010, and since then has seen a huge increase in popularity, coming in at 135 in 2017. The name is also poised to climb up the charts in France and, at this rate, will likely be in the top 100 in England and Wales pretty soon as it ranked at 164 in 2017. The name’s mainstream popularity in the U.S. is unsurprising considering two major pop culture connections: Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars.
The name Nala has a rich history in Hinduism. Meaning “stem” in Sanskrit, Nala also has royal roots. In the Mahabharata, an epic poem dating back to ancient India which chronicles the development of Hinduism, Nala is described as the king of the Nishadha people.
While Nala is considered a masculine name in Hinduism, the moniker is starting to see a rise in popularity among American girls, which can likely be attributed to its roots as a feminine name in Africa. The name first made its way onto the U.S. charts in 2014, where it debuted at 992. It has risen in rank every year since then, coming in at a respectable 767 in 2017. Whether you use the name for your little boy or your little girl, the name Nala comes loaded with tradition. Plus, the name is a natural contender for any Disney-loving parents-to-be: Simba’s love interest, Nala, in The Lion King is arguably one of the most famous examples of the name in pop culture.
Chandra means “moon” in Sanskrit and is derived from the Sanskrit word “chand” meaning “to shine.” According to Hindu tradition, Chandra (also known as Soma) is a lunar god. Chandra also predates Hinduism, however, and in pre-Hindu tradition was the lunar as well as the fertility god. While male in Hindu tradition, the name Chandra is today used as both a masculine and as a feminine name.
While not currently trending in the United States, the name Chandra has seen some traction in the country as a feminine name. It first popped up on the charts in the mid-1950s and had a steady run, remaining on the list of top 1000 girls baby names until 1992. Its similarity to the name Shonda, made famous by Shonda Rhimes, who has created such iconic shows as Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder, might help to usher in a revival of the moniker in the next few years.
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