India is a land of several cultures, communities, caste groups, and traditions. As we keep learning from our childhood, Unity in Diversity. There are diverse cultures in the Indian subcontinent, and yet we are all one. The Indian surnames have a different significance globally, given that, unlike other countries, they are determined by either castes, tribes, communities, occupational histories, or place of birth.
The Indian surnames are very vast; one cannot count mainly how many thousands might exist. Yet, we have worked around giving you the list of most popular Indian last names right now. So, let us learn all about them today.
Most Common Surnames in India:
Let us go ahead and explore the most common Indian last names list. This Indian surname list includes the popular and famous ones in different regions of the country. So here we go with the top famous and popular surnames and last names in India with meanings!
Top North Indian Surnames:
Aggarwal or Aggarwel or Agarwal is a popular North Indian surname. The states of origin and population include Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand. They belong to mercantile and business class communities.
Ahuja mainly belongs to Punjabis and Sikhs. They are ancestors of Arora.
Although lesser used as surnames these days, Arya is of Sanskrit origin, which means powerful or honorable man. There were Aryas, mainly during the King’s rule, who are well-educated communities.
The surname Bakshi historically is communities that are wage distributors in armies. It is a Punjabi surname and means a paymaster. This is among traditional Indian last names.
The name belongs to the Kshatriya community. Most commonly observed among Punjabis, Khatris also are Jaat’s. The prominent population is around Delhi, UP, and Haryana.
Laghari is initially a tribe in and around Punjab and Sindh areas, now even in Pakistan. They are the largest in the Baloch tribe.
Burman means Protection. It is originated from the Sanskrit language and is another name for Varman too. They are mainly present around East and Northern India too.
Bhatts are the goldsmith caste. They are popular around North India, in and around Punjab, and Haryana.
Bedi community belong to the Khatris; they are anciently famous as an expert in Vedas. They are around in states such as UP, Rajasthan, and Delhi.
Varma is a prevalent North Indian surname. They belong to the Kshatriya caste and are almost spread in several states in and around the regions. This is among popular Royal surnames in India.
Dalal is a gotra and clan of the community of Jats in North India. There are also Dalals in Parsi communities.
Chabra is both Hindu and Silk surname and belongs to the Aroras too. However, most Chabras are in Punjab.
Chawla is also a Hindu and Sikh surname. They are in the Punjabi regions, and a few also in Pakistan who went after partition.
Chadha is a Punjabi surname again. They belong to business families and also belong to Khatri communities.
Ahulwalias are spread around Northwestern India and Pakistan. They belong to the Kalal community, whose caste occupation is brewing liquor.
Dewan came from an Arabic word, Diwan. They are family names that came down from the royal ancient times when the family person is appointed as Diwan, the highest official of the region.
Kohli belongs to the Khatri clan. They are around Jammu, Kashmir, Punjab, and Delhi provinces. It is among popular Indian surnames starting with k.
Lal is mostly around Delhi, UP, and Bihar states. They are quite prominent in numbers. However, their origin is unknown clearly.
Malhotras are also the Khatri community. They are Rajputs, generally in the mercantile or business upper class. Most Malhotra is around from Punjab, UP, and Delhi.
Mehrotra is also from the Khatri community, belongs to the other side of Malhortas. So, they, too, belong to a similar society.
Grover’s are from Hindu and Sikh communities. They are popularly present around Punjab, MP, UP, and Delhi.
Kaur is a prevalent Punjabi surname; they are in dominance in the state.
Kashyap’s original roots are from Brahmins. They mean tortoise and deer. Most believe that they are descendants of mythological sage Kashyap.
Garg is both Jain’s and Bania’s surname. They are spread across India right now. However, they are mainly from the North and Western regions too.
Chopra’s are both Hindus and Sikhs, natives from Punjab.
Top South Indian Surnames:
Anand means happiness or joy. So technically, this wasn’t a family name for very long, and it started becoming a family name in South Indians very recently.
Reddy is a popular caste group in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. They used to be in the administrative works during King’s rule back then.
Antony is a Christian surname in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It has native from the first name being Antony, later converted as a last name.
Balakrishnan is a popular name in Tamil Nadu. It technically means Child Krishna.
Chowdhury is a caste group in Andhra Pradesh and belongs to the dominant community in the state.
Iyer is a popular Tamil Nadu surname belonging to Brahmins.
Similar to Iyer, Iyengar is also a brahmin upper caste community in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Zacharia is a popular Christina Hebrew surname in the state of Kerala.
Rao is present in the states of Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa too. They are used by various caste groups, such as Brahmins, Kammas, and Velamas in the south Indian state.
Naidu is another popular surname in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. This is because they belong to the dominant caste.
Mani is a short form surname in states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These surnames include Subramanian, Pandian, and so on.
Nair is a popular Kerala Surname belong to the same caste. They are dominant castes, seen as a form of royalty.
Achari castes belong to Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. They are worker-skilled caste groups.
Nadar is dominant in Tamil Nadu. They are not a single caste but have various sub-castes within them. They are also present in Kerala. Historically, palm wine or toddy is their caste occupation.
Nambudiri or Namboothiri is a dominant surname in the State of Kerala, belonging to Brahmin and higher caste profile.
Sastry or Sastri means versed in sastras or religious treatise in the Sanskrit language. This is a common surname in all south Indian states. This is a popular Indian surname starting with S.
Kaushik surname is popular in both north and south India, especially in Telugu states.
However, Kumar is a widespread surname in South India, not by a particular community or castes. Many use this surname. This means epithet of God Kartikeya.
Chari is present in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh/Telangana states. They mainly belong to the caste group of Vismakarmas.
Krishna is the name directly used by Lord Krishna and is commonly used as the last name for several South Indian names.
Shetty is from the state of Karnataka. They are primarily from the coastal Karnataka area who belong to both Vaishya and Kshatriya communities.
Gowda is another prevalent surname in several Karnataka regions. In ancient times, Gowda was the administrative head or head of a village.
Hebbar is a popular surname in Karnataka state too.
Gouds is a surname that came from the caste groups. They are dominantly present in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
As the name suggests directly in South Indian languages, Raju means King and are from Kshatriya caste groups. Several from the particular caste use the surname.
Top East Indian Surnames:
Banerjee or Bandyopadhyay is a form of Brahmins surname in the state of West Bengal. The other forms here include Bonnerjee, Banerjea, and Banerji.
Basu is another popular Surname in Bengal. They are also called Bose.
Choudhury is another popular caste group in Bengal, which means the holder of responsibilities. That surname came initially from a title given to military commander or navy and elephant corps.
Chakrabarti is another popular surname in East India, which means emperor or ruler.
Dutta is generally a Kshatriya caste group in Orissa and Bengal.
Ghosh in several Eastern states belongs to the caste groups of Milkmen. They are dominant in Bengal, Assam, and Orissa too.
Ganguly surname, otherwise called Gonguly or Gangopadhyay, are considered descendants of the Brahmin community. Hence, they are popular in Bengal.
Gupta means protector of Governor. They are also popular in the Bengal regions.
Mukherjee means chief, principal or teacher. The name in Sanskrit is also called Mukhopadhyay. It is again popular around the Bengal regions.
Das is there in several states such as Bengal, Assam, Orissa, and other nearby regions. It means servant or devotee.
Adhikari is generally officer castes surnames. They are there in several Eastern states and are both dominant in Nepal and India.
Barua is a popular Northeastern surname in Assam and Sikkim. Several castes have the same surname. The name means a new way of life.
Pujaris are generally Brahmin or Kshatriya community surnames. They are spread in a range of states such as Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, etc.
Kalita is a form of surname by the Kshatriya community in Assam and nearby states and regions.
Sharma means comfort, joy, or happiness. This is mainly a surname by the Brahmin caste associated with Orissa.
Top West Indian Last Names:
Patel is a prevalent surname in the state of Gujarat. They are primarily landowning communities, agriculturalists, and also business and merchant class.
Amin means trustworthy or faithful in Islam. It is a popular Muslim surname in western India.
Apte is a common and dominant surname in a section of Brahmins in Maharashtra.
Deshpande is again a Marathi surname. Deshastha Brahmins and Goud Saraswat Brahmins mainly take it.
The Jain surname itself means those who are from the Jain religious community. Almost all the jains use the surname, which is dominant and popular in western India.
Jha is a segment within the Brahmin community in the state of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and other regions.
Joshi technically means Astrologer. It is a popular surname in western India who are from those particular communities.
Kapadia technically means fabric maker. They are business textile community people from Maharashtra and Gujarat, also extended to Rajasthan.
Dubey or Dwivedi is a popular surname in Gujarat. They belong to the Brahmin caste and the Pancha Gauda classification of Brahmins.
We all have heard the surname Gandhi. It is a Baniya Gujarati surname descendant.
Gujarat, besides the other states such as Chhattisgarh, Haryana also has the surname Modi. They belong to the Rajput Kshatriya community.
Kulkarni is a popular surname in Maharashtra, especially in Brahmin communities.
Deshmukh is a native title that is given to the particular community desamukhi. It is then used as a surname in Maharashtra and around regions.
Tendulkar is a Maratha surname, similar to the other family of surnames such as Sawarekar, Mangeshkar, Gavaskar, etc.
Awasthi is a sub-sect Kanya-kubja brahmins. They belong to few regions in Maharashtra, Gujarat and are also a native of UP.
Top Business Family Surnames:
Ambani’s are a popular Indian surname. We all know Anil and Mukesh Ambani and their business empire. They belong to a native of the Gujarat Hindu community.
Adani is another business magnet surname we know. They are also business communities from Gujarat.
Birla’s are native to the Vaishya trading community. They are the Marwaris community, native to Rajasthan state.
Damani’s are trading community surnames. They, too, belong to Maharashtra or Gujarat.
Godrej is a Parsi-speaking community surname. It belongs to the Zoroastrian Parsi family around Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Hinduja in Sanskrit is derived from Hindu, which implies related to Hindustan land. This surname belongs to the Sindhi trading community.
Bajaj is a famous business family in India. The surname, however, is used by various Khatri community members and belongs to a mercantile class.
Wadia’s surname belongs to Gujarat and a Parsi Family. They are businessmen and traders by community occupation.
The Indian business magnet ShivNadar is from the Nadar community of Tamil Nadu. It is a south Indian surname caste group from families who used to be tax collectors and lords of the land during ancient rule.
Mittal is a popular Baniya Hindu surname belonging to north Indian states such as Punjab, Rajasthan, and nearby regions. The name is well known from Lakshmi Mittal, head of steel company.
Top Film Industry Surnames:
91. Kapoor family (of Prithviraj Kapoor):
The Kapoor family from Prithviraj Kapoor is among the oldest family in the Bollywood film industry. They have been ruling the industry for quite a long. These Kapoor’s belong to the Punjabi region. The popular actors covering this family after Prithviraj Kapoor include Raj Kapoor, Rishi, Randhir, Rajiv Kapoor, and Kareena, Karishma, and Ranbir Kapoor.
92. Kapoor family (of Surinder Kapoor):
Another famous Kapoor family of Bollywood is from Surinder Kapoor. This family, too, is related to the Rajasthan, Punjab, and Peshawar Pakistan regions, and the popular actors include Anil Kapoor, Boney Kapoor, Arjun, Sonam, Jahnvi, and Khushi Kapoor.
The Bachchan family belongs to the Uttar Pradesh native. The popular actor Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan are well known in this last name.
94. Allu and Mega family:
The Allu and Mega – Konidela families belong to the Tollywood movie industry. This is the family name, and the native is Andhra Pradesh. They are among the famous family name in Tollywood and South Indian industry.
95. Chopra family (of Yash Chopra):
The Chopra surname comes from Punjabi regions, which now even extends to Pakistan after Partition. The family surname is from the Hindu religion. There are also Chopra’s widespread around Rajasthan and Haryana. They belong to Kshatriya Community. The famous Chopra in Bollywood includes the late Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, and Uday Chopra.
The Bhatt family (from Mahesh Bhatt, Alia Bhatt) is among other popular Bollywood surnames. The Bhatt’s are Hindu religion brahmin or priest community.
97. Gulzar family:
Gulzar is a Sikh family surname. The famous lyricist and writer Gulzar Saheb belong to the Sikh family of present-day Pakistan.
98. Khan family (of Salim Khan):
The Khan family, as everyone can guess, is a Muslim surname. The surname has origins from Turkey and can be associated with equals to Pathans in India. The famous Khan family in Bollywood include Salim Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Salman Khan, etc.
99. Akkineni family:
Akkineni is another popular surname in South India, especially the Tollywood movie industry. This is a caste last name or a family name that belongs to the Andhra Pradesh region.
100. Dutt family (of Sunil Dutt):
Dutt’s surname origin and native is from Punjab. The famous family in the Bollywood film industry includes Sunil Dutt, Nargis Dutt, Sanjay Dutt, etc.
We hope you enjoyed exploring this list of popular and famous Indian surnames to understand and gain knowledge of Indian roots. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts!
This is exclusively a guide to learn about Indian surnames, and the list of the last names is for informative purposes only. The content in this article is provided from research through various sources across the web. The author does not guarantee or promise any accuracy of facts provided in this article.