Naming your baby is one of the first things you have to do as a parent. With Indian last names, there’s a lot you can tell about the person and their family background. Usually, their caste, economic status, culture, and occupation are revealed by their last name. That is why it’s a big deal to know what reputation a person’s last name holds. Last names, especially in India, are passed on from generation to generation. It’s a way to figure out the family tree, which can trace back to ancestors. Some names also denote the place of birth, and hence last names in India are given a lot of importance. If you belong to India or are familiar with Indian culture, you know what we are talking about! If not, scroll below and look at the most common last names in India — it might put things in perspective for you.
100 Most Popular Indian Last Names:
Acharya is the Brahman Hindu surname. The surname comes from Sanskrit word ‘acarya’. The term is also applied as a title for a man of learning.
Agarwal is a Jain surname. The Agarwals are one of the most prominent mercantile communities of India. The surname comes from the word Agroha, the former capital of the ancient city Agar Sen. One of the most common indian last names.
The surname Khatri is a synonym for Kshatriya. Kshatriya is one of the five major castes in Hinduism.
Ahuja is a Sikh surname meaning the ‘descendant of Ahu’. Ahu was the name of an Arora ancestor.
Anand is a Hindu surname derived from the Sanskrit word ‘anada’, which means joy. It was initially a given name but is now popular as a surname.
Laghari is another common Indian last name. The last name is taken from the Laghari tribe in Baluchistan.
Patel is a common Gujarati surname. It means the ‘village headman’ in Gujarati.
Reddy is a caste in Southern India. The people of the Reddy caste are known for good administration. Their other profession beside administration is farming.
Bakshi is a Hindu and Punjabi surname. The surname comes from the Persian ‘bakhshi’, which means ‘paymaster’. Bakshi was originally the title of officials who distributed wages in Muslim armies.
The last name Anthony is a surname popular amongst Christians in South India. It is derived from the personal name Anthony.
Babu is a Hindu surname meaning ‘father’. It is derived from the Prakrit word ‘bappa’, a respectful term of address for a man. It is also a term of endearment for a baby boy.
Arya is a Hindu surname popular in several communities. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘arya’, which means an ‘honorable man’.
The surname Balakrishnan is derived from the Sanskrit word bālakṛṣna, which means ‘child Krishna’. This surname is common in South India.
Banerjee is a Bengali surname. Its first element ‘Ban’ is a short form of the village named Bandoghat and the last element ‘jee’, is derived from ‘jha’, which means ‘teacher’.
Burman is a Rajbanshi surname for Sanskrit word ‘varman’, which means ‘protection’. Burman is also the cognate of North Indian surname Verma.
The surname Bhatt is based on the name of a subgroup of goldsmiths in Punjab. It means ‘the learned one’.
Basu is a Bengali surname. It comes from the Sanskrit word vasu, which means ‘wealth, gem, and radiance’. The surname Basu is also an epithet of Lord Shiva.
The surname Bedi is based on the name of a clan in the Khatri community. Bedi is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘vedi’, which means ‘one who knows the Vedas’.
Varma is a surname common in North India. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘armor’, which means ‘protection’. It was initially used only by the Kshatriya caste, but is now adopted by non- Kshatriya communities as well.
Dara is a Parsi surname. It is based on Old Persian royal name Dārayavahush, which means ‘possessor’.
Dalal is a gotra (clan) of Jats community, which is found in the northern part of India. According to Wikipedia, the clan got this name from a king named Dalal.
Chowdhury is a status name for the head of a community. The title was originally awarded to people of eminence. It is now a popular surname among both Indian Muslims and Hindus.
Chabra is a Hindu and Sikh surname. It is based on the name of the Arora clan.
Chadha is a Khatri Hindu surname. It is based on the name of the clan in the Khatri community. The Ramgharia Sikhs have a clan named Chadha.
The Bengali surname Chakrabarti comes from the Sanskrit word čakravartī, which means ‘emperor’. It also denotes a ruler whose chariot wheels rolled everywhere without obstruction.
Chawla is a Hindu and Sikh surname. It is based on the name of a clan in the Arora community.
Ahluwalia is a Sikh surname derived from a place name. Ahlu is the name of a village near Lahore.
Amin is a Muslim surname derived from the Arabic word ‘amin’, which means ‘trustworthy’. The term is used in combination with other names to form compound names.
Apte is a Maharashtrian surname found amongst Konkan surname. It comes from the Marathi word ‘apta’, which denotes the three Bauhinia tomentose.
Datta is a Bengali and Punjabi surname derived from the Sanskrit word ‘datta’, which means ‘gift’. In the Puranas, the name is associated with the Vaishya caste. In Assam and Bengal, the surname Datta belongs to the Kayastha caste.
The Sikh surname Deol is based on the name of a Jat clan.
Deshpande is a Brahmin surname derived from the Marathi word ‘despande’. The term was used for the district accountant of a hereditary office.
The surname Dewan comes from the Arabic word ‘diwan’, which means a royal court or treasury. In the Mughal era, the term Dewan was the highest official in a state.
Lal is a Hindu surname common in several communities. It comes from a Sanskrit word ‘lala’, which means ‘darling’. It is an epithet of the God Krishna. It is also one of the popular Indian last names.
Kohli is a Hindu and Sikh surname based on the name of a clan in the Khatri community.
Mangal is a Hindu surname coming from the Sanskrit surname ‘mangala’. The Agarwal has a clan called Mangal. The surname means ‘auspicious’.
Malhotra is a surname based on the clan in the Khatri community. It is a variation of Mehrotra.
The surname Jha is popular in Northern India. It is the reduced form of the Sanskrit word ‘upadhaya’, which means teacher’.
The surname is a short form of the Sanskrit surname ‘jyotshi’, which means astrologer. It is borne by Brahmins.
Kapadia is a surname popular in Rajasthan, Bombay, and Gujarat. It comes from a Parsi word ‘kapad’, which means ‘cloth merchant.
Iyer is a Hindu-Brahmin surname popular in Tamil Nadu region of India. The Iyer Brahmans are an important community from Tamil Nadu.
The surname Jain derives from the Sanskrit word ‘jaina’, which is derived from Jina or the ‘follower of Jina. It means ‘triumphant’.
Khanna is a Sikh surname based on the clan found in the Khatri community. They are said to be the descendants of Khan Chand.
Grover is a Hindu and Sikh surname. You will find many Punjabis with this surname.
Kaur is a surname used by Sikh and Punjabi women. Kaur is used either as the final element of a personal name or as the last name.
Kashyap is a Hindu surname based on the name of a Gotra. Kashyap was the name of Hindu sage. It means ‘tortoise’ and ‘deer’.
Gokhale is a Hindu surname found among Konkanasth Brahmins. It comes from the Marathi word ‘gokhla’, which means ‘cow eye’.
Ghosh is a Bengali surname. It is a Kayasth occupational name coming from the Sanskrit ‘ghosa’, which means ‘cowherd’.
Garg is a Bania and Jain surname. Both Oswal Banias and Agarwal Banias have clans named Garg. It was the name of an ancient Hindu sage.
Dhar is a Kayasth surname deriving from the Bengali name ‘dhar’, which means ‘credit’.
Gandhi is an occupational surname meaning ‘perfume seller’, in Indic languages. In Gujarat, the word ‘gandha’ also means ‘pharmacist’ and ‘grocer’.
The Bengali surname Ganguly is a variation of Sanskrit surname Gangopadhyay. It means a teacher from the Ganga village.
Gupta is a Jain and Bania surname coming from the Sanskrit word ‘gupt’, which means ‘protected’. It is an ancient surname of India.
Das is a Bengali surname. It comes from Bengali word ‘das’, which means ‘votary’. It is also used as a final element of the compound given names.
Chopra is a surname borne by Hindus and Sikhs. It belongs to a clan called Chopra.
The surname Dhawan is based on the name of a clan in the Khatri community. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dhav’, which means ‘runner’ or ‘messenger’,
Dixit is a Brahman surname coming from the Sanskrit word ‘diksita’, priest-performing initiation.
Dubey is a North Indian surname pronounced as two syllables. It means ‘one who has studied the Vedas’. The surname Dubey is a cognate of Gujarati Dave.
Haldar is a Brahman surname coming from the Sanskrit word ‘haladhara’, which means ‘one who holds a plow’. It is an epithet of Balarama.
Kapoor is a Sikh surname of the Khatri community. It is a derivation of a personal name ‘karpura’, which means ‘camphor’.
The Sikh surname Khurana is based on the name of a clan in the Arora community.
Kulkarni is a Marathi surname meaning ‘village clerk’. The Kulkarni was a village official under the village headman.
The surname Madan comes from an ancestral personal name Madan. It means ‘god of love’. It is also the name of an Arora clan.
Bajwa is a Sikh surname of the Jat tribe. This surname is popular in Northern states of India like Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.
Here is another Sikh surname for you. Bhasin is based on the Khatri community clan. The surname is derived from Sanskrit word Bhasin, which means ‘sun’.
The popular surname Chandra comes from the Sanskrit word ‘candra’, which means ‘pleasant or moon’. It usually occurs as the final element of a compound name. For example- Ramachandra.
The surname Chauhan has an ancient prestige. The Chauhan kings ruled in Rajasthan and other bordering states.
Deshmukh is a Hindu surname found in several communities. The surname is derived from the Marathi word ‘desmukh’, which means ‘district chief’.
Dayal is the surname of Kayastha community. Just like the surname Chandra, Dayal also occurs as the final element in a compound name.
Dhillon is a Sikh or Jat surname. The Dhillon tribe is one of the most widely distributed Jat tribes in India.
Goswami is a Brahmin Hindu surname. It derives from the Sanskrit word ‘gosvami’, which means religious mendicant.
The Indian surname Goel is based on the name of a clan of the Agarwal community. The surname Goel is popular in the northeastern states of India.
Mallick is both a Hindu and a Muslim surname. It comes from an Arabic word ‘malik’, which means ‘king.
The Bania surname Mahajan comes from the Hindi word ‘mahajan’, which means ‘banker’ or money lender’. The Sanskrit meaning of Mahajan is ‘great person’.
The surname Kumar is found in several Indian communities. It is the epithet of god Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva. Kumar also occurs as an element of a given name.
Mani is the reduced form of the South Indian surname Subramanian. It is also a given name in Kerala.
Gill is a Punjabi surname. It comes from a Punjabi word ‘gil, which means ‘prosperity’. There is also a Jat tribe with the same name.
Mannan is a Hindu surname meaning ‘king’ in Tamil. Mannan is also a Muslim surname. It is based on the Sanskrit word ‘mannan’, which means ‘the bountiful’.
Biswas is a Bengali Kayastha surname. It comes from Sanskrit word ‘visvasa’, which means trust’.
Batra is a Punjabi surname based on a clan in the Arora community.
Bawa is a Sikh surname based on the name of Jat clan. Bawa is also the title given to the male descendants of the first three Sikh gurus.
Mehta is a Rajasthani surname-meaning chief in modern Indian languages. It Gujarati, it means ‘teacher and accountant’.
The surname Mukherjee is the Sanskrit version of Mukhopadhyaya. It is composed ‘mukhya’, which means principal and ‘upadhaya’, which means teacher.
Saxena is the name of one of the subgroups of the Kayastha community. It is also the title awarded to them by the kings of Srinagar.
Zacharia is a Hebrew surname popular amongst Christians in Kerala. It is also used as a first name among the families of Kerala.
Shah is both a Hindu and Muslim surname. It is a Persian royal title, which means ‘emperor’. It is also a Jain and Gujarati name meaning ‘merchant’.
The surname Ray is a variant of Rai. It comes from the Sanskrit word ‘raja’, which means ‘king’. It is also the name of the Bunt community.
The last name Rao is popular in Orissa and other western states of India like Maharashtra, Goa, and Andhra Pradesh.
Purohit is a Brahmin surname. The term denotes the family priest of a Hindu community. It means ‘one placed foremost’.
Parekh is the variant of the name Parikh. It means ‘assayer’ in Gujarati. The Porwal Banias and Oswal have clans called Parekh.
The name Thakur means ‘deity’ or ‘lord’. The last name Thakur is commonly associated with Kshatriyas but is also found among the Brahmins and other communities.
Singh is a Hindu Kshatriya surname, which is now being adopted by several communities. It means ‘hero’ or ‘eminent’.
The last name Sharma means ‘joy or shelter’. It is regarded as a prestigious name by the Indians.
Seth is a Parsi and Jain last name. It is popular amongst mercantile communities. Seth means ‘banker or merchant’.
The last name Sachdev is based on one of the clans in the Arora community. It means ‘true god’.
Ranganathan is a Hindu last name meaning ‘lord of mirth’. It is an epithet of Lord Krishna.
The name Puri is based on the clan in the Khatri community. The word ‘puri’ means ‘small town’ in Punjabi.
The surname Pandey comes from the Sanskrit surname ‘pandita’, meaning scholar. It denotes a Brahmin engaged in teaching or cooking.
The surname Naidu occurs in communities of Andhra Pradesh. It is composed of a stem word ‘naya’, which means leader or chief. The suffix ‘du’ is a third person masculine suffix in Telegu.
The last name Modi is borne by Gujarati and Parsi people. There is a clan called Modi among the Oswal Banias.
The last name could have a significant influence and reveal many details about a person and their familial history. Hence, it is not uncommon for some people to refer to you by your last name. Moreover, with a host of cultural variations in India, you may encounter numerous Indian last names famous worldwide. It is nearly impossible that anyone could not have heard popular Indian last names such as Sharma, Kapoor, Singh, Reddy, Khanna, etc. Glance through our list to understand the most common Indian surnames and their origin.