Indian surnames, hindu surnames, origin and meaning

Indian surnames and family names are derived from a variety of systems and naming conventions. The surnames are influenced by religion, profession, region, caste etc. Here is our list of Indian surnames and their origin/ meaning. You can also add your surname to this list if it is not listed below. Send your contributions to [email protected].

  • Abbott = One who worship and spread teachings of Sanatan Dharam (Hinduism)
  • Achari = Derived from Asari (Malayalam). Carpenters in profession
  • Acharya = Priest & teacher
  • Adiga = Priest from North Karnataka
  • Agarwal = Derived from Agarwala or 'a descendant from district Agroha', ancient name of Hissar city. Agroha had 18 districts - Garg, Mangal, Kucchal, Goyan, Goyal, Bansal, Kansal, Singhal, Jindal, Thingal, Airan, Dharan, Madhukul, Bindal, Mittal, Tayal, Bhandal, and Naagal. All these surnames are synonymous with Agarwals
  • Ahluwalia = A descendant from Ahlu, a village near Lahore
  • Ahuja = A descendant of Ahu
  • Arora = A descendant from Aror, today's Rohri in Sind
  • Asan = This word derived from sanskrit Acharya meaning teacher. Kaniyar community of south Kerala, uses this title in virtue of their traditional avocation as elementary school teachers.
  • Bandopadhyay = A respected teacher
  • Banerjee = Teacher from the village of Bandoghat
  • Bharadwaj = Descendants of sage Bharadwaja
  • Bhat/Butt = Priest or Scholar
  • Bhattacharya = Priest & teacher
  • Bhattathiri = Particular class of Brahmins in Kerala.
  • Chaturvedi = One who has learned all the four vedas
  • Chattopadhyay = A teacher from the Chatta village in Bengal
  • Chopra = Descendants of warrior Chaupat Rai
  • Desai = Means one who owns desh (place). Landlord
  • Deshmukh = Person who heads a territory, desh means a country (district) and mukh means head
  • Deshpande = District accountant / head of region
  • Devar = Means God. Community is based in Tamil Nadu. Has Ambalakaarar (village headman), Maravar (warriors), Chervaar (palace workers) 4. Piramalai kallar (spies) as sub-sects
  • Dhawan = Messenger on the field of battle
  • Dhirwan = Rajput, One who worship and spread teachings of Maa Rajrajeswari, Uttrakhand origin
  • Dubashi = Person who knows two languages, a Translator
  • Dutta = Drived from Aditya or Sun
  • Dwivedi = One who has learned two vedas.
  • Embranthiri = Brahmins migrated from Karnataka and settled in Kerala.
  • Ganaka = Hindu traditional astrologers (Kaniyar) in Kerala and Assam (Ganak Brahmins)
  • Gandhi = From Sanskrit gandha which means perfume, perfume seller. In Gujarati the word also means grocer or pharmacist
  • Gill = Lake/Moisture/Prosperity. Punjabi sikh origin
  • Gowda = Karnataka origin. Village headman
  • Guha = Another name for Lord Kartikeya
  • Guneta = People originally from Queta/Sind
  • Gupta = Ruler/Protector.
  • Iyer = Derived from Tamil word Ayya which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word Arya which means Noble
  • Iyengar = One who has undergone the 5 purification rituals.
  • Jain = Follower of Jainism. Which is derived from Jina (one who overcomes)
  • Jha = Community of highly cohesive, traditional Brahmins who form part of ancient Vedic Brahmins. They are Maithili speakers
  • Johar = Sanskrit for Jewel
  • Joshi = Practioner of Jyotish or astrology.
  • Kakkar = Strong
  • Kaniyar = Tamil-Malayalam translation of the Sanskrit word "Ganika"-r (those who calculate). Traditional astrologers of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
  • Kapoor = Descendants of Moon
  • Kaul = Means well-born. Derived from Sanskrit word Kula
  • Kaur = Princess. Punjabi sikh origin
  • Khan = Turkish in origin. Means Chief/Ruler
  • Khanna = Derived from Khanda (sword)
  • Khatri = Punjabi version of Kshatriya (ruler). Khanna, Kapoor, Seth, Mehra, Malhotra, Chopra and Walia are all Khatris
  • Kocchar = Armour
  • Kori = derived from the word 'kora' means clean, which originated from 'gora' meaning whiteness.
  • Kumawat = Warrior (Kshatriya) caste found in North India.
  • Lohkana, Lohkna, Lav = Hindu Kshatriya/ Warriors, descendants of Lava/ Dashratha
  • Mahajan = Literally means big People
  • Mahto = Head of the village
  • Malik = Arabic word for King
  • Malireddy = Kamma with surname from Samalkot mandal region in Andhra
  • Marar = Performs music and percussions in Temples. Of Kerala origin
  • Marri = The surname belonging to the people of Krishnadevaraya dynasty
  • Maurya = One of the greatest empires of ancient India
  • Menon = Of Kerala origin, Accountants
  • Mehra/Mehrotra = Descendants of Mihr (Sun)
  • Mirpuri = From Mirpur district, Sindhis
  • Mishra = Mixed or blended
  • Mukhopadhyay = Main Teacher.
  • Nayar, Naik = Means leader, soldier
  • Nair = Derived from Nayak, means leader. Nambiar, Adiyodi, Kurup, Menon, Unnitthaan, Thampi, Mannadiyaar are sub class of Nair
  • Nambeesan = Lower class brahmin who performs temple duties in Kerala
  • Namboothiri = Particular class of Brahmins in Kerala
  • Negi = Surname in Uttrakhand, Rajput warriors
  • Nehru = One who lives on the bank of a Nehr or canal.
  • Ojha = Brhamins from U.P, Bihar and Nepal and other parts in North India, meaning he who controls the spirits on Earth
  • Pandey = Saryuparin Brahmans who specialized in the study & research of the 4 Vedas and Puranas
  • Panicker = Derived from Sanskrit word Parinayaka (martial art preceptor). Kaniyar Panicker or Kalari panicker of Kerala is commonly known by this name
  • Patel/Patil = Village headman
  • Patial = Belongs to Rajput family, Rulers
  • Pilla/Pillai = Young lad, son. Malayalam and Tamil origin
  • Pothuvaal = Performs music and percussions in temples. Of Kerala origin
  • Prajapati - Suryavanshi descendants from Ikshvaku son of Manu prajapati (son of Daksha Prajapati).
  • Rana = Ruler. Some speculate it is the male version of Rani
  • Rajput = Ruler, means offspring of the Ruler
  • Reddy = Derived from "Rashtrakuta" which is Sanskrit for "Rettakudi". Rettakudi is converted into Rettadi and later Reddy.
  • Saini = Head of army
  • Sethi = Derived from Sanskrit word Sreshti (Merchant). Incidentally Shetty/Chettiar has the same roots
  • Shah = Persian word for Monarch
  • Sharma = Hindu (Brahman) name from Sanskrit sarma means joy, shelter
  • Shukla = Bright
  • Singh = Derived from Sanskrit word Simha which means Lion
  • Sinha = From the Sanskrit word Simha which means Lion
  • Somayaji = Brahmin who performs Somayaga.
  • Tagore = Anglicised version of Thakur (Lord)
  • Talwar = Swordsman/Sword
  • Tandon = Warrior or sun
  • Trivedi = Learned in 3 vedas.
  • Varrier = Temple dwellers of Kerala origin, who performs other temple duties than Puja
  • Varma/Varman = Kshatriyas in South India. Affixed to the names of rulers
  • Verma = Hindu name, from Sanskrit word varman which means armor, protection.
  • Yadav = Followers of Yadu, particular community related to lord Krishna.