When it comes to Indian girl names, the options are beautiful and wide-ranging. And so are their meanings — from the lyrical Karima (which means “precious”) to the regal Rani (which means “queen”), each one has a unique and special message behind it.
Many Indian parents have maintained long-held cultural traditions when it comes naming their babies. Hindu parents often name their offspring after a close family member or friend, and 12 days after the baby is born, present their baby to the world during an elaborate naming ceremony known as Namkaran or Namakarana Sanskar. Other parents sometimes consult an astrologer to name their baby according to their astrological sign (or “rashi”).
If you’re looking for some ideas to get you inspired, look no further — we’ve rounded up dozens of unique Indian girl names you’ll love.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: Morning glory; first rays of the sun.
Not to be confused with the Irish name Ahana, the Sanskrit name Aahana has a very positive and uplifting feel, thanks to its meaning. It’s been rising in popularity in recent years among new parents, and it’s easy to see why.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: smile.
Speaking of happy and uplifting baby names, what better name to give your happy baby than one that means “smile”? It doesn’t get more bright and sunny than that.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: free and unbounded.
A strong name with a bold feminist message might just be the perfect pick for your fearless little lady. In Sanskrit, the name roughly translates to “freedom, security, boundless, or entire,” and it’s said to be growing in popularity.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: beauty.
While Adra may seem pretty similar to Audra (the English and French baby name meaning “noble”), it’s actually a pretty uncommon name in India — but one that’s clearly destined to start climbing the charts any day now.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: fire.
Have a feeling your baby-to-be is gonna be a real spitfire? Banhi, which means “fire,” will capture all her spunk, and be just as unique as she is.
Origin: Tamil; Meaning: one who has a future.
Will your baby girl grow up to be the next Gloria Steinem or Malala Yousafzai? Only time will tell. But giving her a name like Bavishni might just inspire her to believe she can be anything she wants to be, right from the start.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: enlightenment.
Bodhi‘s been used throughout time as a unisex name for both boys and girls, and has even become a celeb favorite in recent years — Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green named their son Bodhi in 2014 and Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed gave it to their little girl in 2017. The meaning of “enlightenment” comes from Buddhism, and refers to the sacred Bodhi tree where the spiritual teacher Siddhartha Gautama is said to have achieved enlightenment while sitting under it.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: shadow or shade.
The meaning behind the name Chaaya is actually much deeper than it first appears. It’s been said that in Hindi, the name is actually less about darkness and is actually symbolic of a child’s birth bringing comfort to the world. How beautiful is that?
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: morning star, God is my judge.
Danika is actually a name found in several other languages, too, as its origins trace back most notably to Eastern Europe and Slavic countries as well as the Hindu culture. Its English form (spelled “Danica”) has risen in popularity within the States, thanks to the race car driver Danica Patrick and even Danica McKellar, who famously played Winnie on The Wonder Years.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: ultimate law of all things.
In Hinduism, the word dharma refers to the principle of cosmic order, while in Buddhism, it means the teaching or religion of the Buddha. Either way, it conjures up the notion that there is a higher power at play in our world at all times. When it comes to baby names, Dharma is unique and quirky — much like Jenna Elfman’s character on the ’90s sitcom, Dharma & Greg.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: to see, to perceive, or to have a vision.
Perhaps your little one will in fact be the change they wish to see in the world, as the inspirational Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi once said. The name Darsha is a hopeful name for a perceptive child — and perhaps, a child who will one day make great things happen.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: smart or intelligent.
Elina, similar to the name Elena, is the perfect fit for your clever little girl, as its Hindu meaning refers to a smart or intelligent woman. Its origins are commonly traced back to Spain, where it’s a popular Spanish version of the name Helen, but it also has been around in Hindu cultures for quite some time.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: yellow or gold; shining.
If you’re looking for a bright and sunny name for your baby-to-be, this happy name will certainly strike that vibe. In Hindi, Gauri means “yellow or gold,” and in broader Indian culture, it means “shining.” One thing’s for sure: It’s the perfect name for your energetic little girl.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: another name for the deity Shiva.
In Hindu culture, Hara is another name for Shiva, one of the deities known as the “destroyer of evil and the transformer.” (How’s that for a pretty powerful namesake?) It also has Hebrew origins, where the name means “princess.”
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: goddess of prayer and devotion.
Nope — Ida isn’t just another “old lady” name found in English culture. It actually has roots in German, Greek, Irish, and yes, Hindi cultures, too. And while you might think it sounds a little outdated, don’t count this name out just yet. Classic baby names are making a comeback, in a big way.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: mythological wife of Vishnu; splendid; beauty.
Indira has many meanings, but it’s perhaps best known as another name for Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune and the wife of Vishnu in Hindu mythology. It’s also just a beautiful-sounding name, isn’t it?
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: victory.
What a simple, yet powerful name. Jaya scaled the baby name charts over the years, perhaps for its bold meaning and edgy sound.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: one who is like a lotus.
The name Kamala is pretty and almost lyrical sounding — which certainly fits with its meaning. And while it’s not a common name, it rose to notoriety most recently thanks to the spike in popularity of Kamala Harris, the American senator who famously held her ground during 2017 Senate hearings, when she was constantly interrupted.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: the sun.
Kalinda is almost like a mash-up of Kallie and Melinda — and we honestly love it. It’s said to be a Hindu mythological reference to the mountains of Kalinda, and has an earthy vibe to match.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: lion.
Another strong and bold name for your strong and bold little lady! Leya (not to be confused with Leia, Star Wars fans) means “lion” in Hindi, but also has Spanish roots, where it means “the law.” Either way, it conjures up a sense of confidence and conviction.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: pivotal.
Origin: Hindi/Sanskrit; Meaning: rain.
Neha is a calm and peaceful kind of name, just like the sound of falling raindrops. But aside from the meaning of “rain,” it’s also been translated to mean “love,” and even “eyes.”
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: blue; enchanting moon.
Something about the name Nila and its meaning has a dreamy, romantic feel. It’s also simple, yet unique enough that there won’t be five other Nilas on the kindergarten roster.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: queen.
Talk about the Beyoncé of baby names. This regal moniker, which means “queen” in Sanskrit, is actually a very common one in India, and is perhaps best known for being the name of the popular Indian actress, Rani Mukherjee.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: bird; a parrot.
Pronounced Sah-REE-ka, the name Sarika is most commonly used in its native country of India, and has gotten pretty popular thanks to Bollywood actress Sarika Thakur. But it’s also used in Hungary as a variation of the name Sarah, and is a pretty spunky alternative, don’t you think?
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: star.
We tend to think of Tara as an Irish name. And while it is quite popular in Ireland, as well as in the States, it also has Hindi and Sanskrit roots, where it means “star,” and refers to the goddess of Hindi and Buddhist mythology.
Origin: Sanskrit; Meaning: precious stone, jewel.
Your precious bundle of joy will have a name that matches if you call her Ura.
Origin: Hindi; Meaning: happy girl.
Believe it or not, the name Violet can be traced back to Hindi origins, but has been a popular pick among parents in Western culture just as much as it has in India. Even celebs love the name — it’s the name of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s daughter, as well as Emily Blunt and John Krasinski’s daughter. And what’s not to love about a name that literally means “happy girl?”