What are your favorite Hindu names?  Satya and I like to day dream about the future and think about what we’d name our hypothetical children.   This day is a few years off, but it is still fun.


We have a few names for girls, but are having a tough time with boy names.  Also, we’d like to keep close to our family’s naming traditions.  In my family everyone is named after a saint and after a beloved family member.  This isn’t too hard to stick too because nearly all Western names are matched to a saint.  It does eliminate newer names like Britney or Ashley.


My favorite grandfather’s name was “Valentine” which is a name that I think would work for a girl.  Satya is afraid of that name—he thinks that if we give a girl that name she will take after her name too much and if we gave the name to a boy that he’d get bullied at school.



In Satya’s family it is a bit different.  All the men in his family of his generation and back are named after an incarnation of Shiva and end in either “esh” or “ish”.  He says that kids should not be given the name of a beloved elder because it would be disrespectful to use the elder’s name when scolding the child. 


His cousins who recently had kids are changing this up a bit.  Maybe Lingayat name fashions are changing?  His cousins selected names for their children that aren’t related to a god or godess, but are related to a positive quality.  One of the names translates to “Long life” and another to “Success”. 


Our girl name is “Anushka” or “Anoushka” because it is both a Slavic European name and a Sanskrit name.  Also, it can be shortened to “Anu” which is a common name in Karnataka.  The middle name isn’t decided yet.  Satya kind of likes the name “Kiran”, but I’m not sure.


One of my sisters and I created a name from the middle names of our beloved grandfathers.   We came up with “Blaise Eric”, but Satya thinks that is a terrible name.  I suppose it does seem a bit too “romance novel” like.  Also, he would be creeped out by giving them the names of my dead grandfathers. 


We haven’t found any boy names yet that we both like.  Does anyone have any suggestions?


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. indianties
    Sep 11, 2008 @ 18:03:54

    Hi! I stumbled across your blog – I’m also married to a great guy from India. I lived in Karnataka (Bangalore) for 3 years – before we were married. I admire your determination to learn Kannada. Sadly, I barley learned any while I was living there! We also discuss names for our kids – I think we’ve settled on one “American” name and one “Indian” name. That seems to keep things fair! I look forward to reading more on your blog!


  2. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 11, 2008 @ 18:31:19

    Hi Indianties,


    What names did you and your husband settle on?



  3. Quirky Indian
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 05:00:46

    Hey Minnie. Try this site:


    Quirky Indian


  4. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 14:43:24

    Hi Quirky Indian,

    Thanks for the link!

    What are your favorite names?



  5. Indianties
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 21:07:48

    Hi Minnie,

    Our favorite Indian names are, Arun, Kumar, Rani & Jaya. Our main criteria is that they have to be pronounceable by non-Indians! My husband has to shorten his name since no one can say it right. Since our last name is so “Indian” we’re gonna use the Indian names as middle names most likely… 🙂


  6. Quirky Indian
    Sep 16, 2008 @ 05:34:01

    Hi Minnie. Tough question, because have never really thought about it…..and there are just so many names. But I’d go with Indianties’ advice: go for names that will not be mangled beyond recognition in the US. 🙂


    Quirky Indian


  7. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 16, 2008 @ 13:05:23

    @ Indianties…I like Arun, Rani, and Jaya too. Pronouncability is a key requirement, I agree. My husband and I have good laughs over all the strange ways people pronounce his name, but he hasn’t shortened his.

    @Quirky Indian…I agree.


  8. Anita
    Sep 18, 2008 @ 04:42:22

    Thought about this a lot. My stepson is Badal, which means cloud. But for our future children, we want some sort of “crossover” names. Here are a few:
    For Girls:
    and my friends, an American-Nepali couple, have a daughter named Jaya. Jayanti is also good if you want a longer name, but most people named that are named that because their birth fell on some important person’s jayanti–(birth anniversary).
    For Boys:
    Kiran (the best Nepali/Irish “crossover” name ever–means “ray of light” in Nepali and at the same time is totally Irish in pronunciation, though missing the e after the i in the Irish spelling. Also can be used for a girl).

    Of all those I think Raju is my favorite. But it’s easier to think up names for girls than it is for boys, for some reason.

    Happy name-hunting!


  9. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 13:29:03

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for your list!

    I agree–easier to think of girl’s names.

    Satya likes the name Kiran too, only he likes it as a girl’s name.

    Raju is a cute name.

    Another of his current favorites for boys is Siddarth, but then the nickname would most likely be “Sid” which makes me cringe.



  10. Amit
    Sep 19, 2008 @ 18:47:53

    Boy Name – Aman (it means peace). Good luck with finding more names..


  11. Uma
    Oct 03, 2008 @ 06:24:05

    I landed up here searching for Lingayat wedding rituals and found this post entertaining 🙂
    I think it’s useful for names to be pronounceable. My mother had a 3 syllable max rule and I got “Uma” which I think I was very lucky with. It’s rarely mispronounced even in the US. For boys I’ve always like Neel/Neil but it might not work for you since the Indian name is associated with Krishna.
    I found this link:
    Most are too complex but I like Ishan.


  12. minnesotameetskarnataka
    Oct 03, 2008 @ 14:37:26

    Hi Uma,


    Your mother had a very sensible approach to names.

    Thanks for the link! It certainly makes looking for a Shiva name much easier.



  13. honeybeeluvsjackfruit
    Oct 20, 2008 @ 04:02:39

    We like a few, of course I can barely think of them now….
    Arvind, Neela, Mahesh,
    hmmm, I used to like Anjali, but I think its become very common now.


  14. Gori Girl
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 20:39:39

    I know both a Kiran and an Anu – they seem to be good names for people living in English-speaking countries, as the pronunciation is obvious.

    Aditya (my pen name for my husband) is a favorite of his, but I’m not completely sold, partially because I can’t see a good way it can be converted into a nickname. My stance is that any name of three syllables or more needs a good nickname associated with it. We both like Maya for a girl, but I’m worried that it’ll end up being too popular in the US by the time we get around to procreating.

    This indian baby names site has a list of names that are considered “easily pronounceable by foreigners”. Don’t trust all of the meanings given, though.

    Thanks for the site. I didn’t see that one before.


  15. Bryan
    May 22, 2009 @ 16:17:48

    My wife’s community in Martalli (southern Karntaka, Chamrajnagar District) has many people with names that are not particularly Christian in scope. Names like Priya, Prakash, Divya, and so on are not specifically Hindu (such as Ishwara) or Catholic (such as Rayappan or typical Western names like Joseph). Maybe names along those lines would suit.

    Another thought is first and middle names, like my daughter Priya Elise. We call her Priya, but eventually she could always go by her decidedly more Western middle name.

    Priya Elise is a pretty name! I think we also will go the route of one Indian name and one Western name.


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