by Aruna Kamath
No matter how old-fashioned or traditional they may sound, royalty names never seem to go of style. You’ll agree there’s something charming and elegant about these names. Besides being timeless, they’ve always managed to stay on-top-of-mind and evoke interest to get a conversation going.
Here are some classic princess names for your own little princess which have inspired several generations. We’ve hand-picked some of the best historical names from various eras. Some of these princesses were legendary – known for their beauty and bravery; while a few others were fictional. Nevertheless they are truly regal. We’re sure it will delight your little one when you tell her that she takes her name after a princess. After all, at some point in time every little girl is infatuated by the idea of a princess. So when she dons that little tiara or wears that flowing gown, tell the real story behind her name. She’ll be totally floored!
Means “subduing” in Sanskrit.
Damayanti was an Indian mythological princess of the Vidarbha Kingdom. She was so stunningly beautiful that even the gods could not resist admiring her. She fell in love with King Nala by hearing his virtues and accomplishments from a golden swan. During her swyamvar, even Gods, came along with princes and kings to seek her hand. The Gods Indra, Agni, Varuna and Yama were on their way to the swayamvar, they met King Nala and ordered him to be their messenger and inform Damayanti to choose one of them as her husband. King Nala at first refused, saying he was himself interested in her, but finally relented. On seeing him, Damayanti agreed to pay her respect to the Gods, but insisted on choosing only Nala for her husband.
A name of Sanskrit origin means Queen or Princess of Ujjain. Avantika is also one of the names of goddess Parvati.
Ujjain, earlier known by several names such as Ujain, Ujjayini, Avanti, Avantikapuri, is an ancient city of Malwa in central India (today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh). It was an important city for the early Aryan settlers. It also played an important role under the rule of King Ashoka’s father. It was earlier known as Avantika and has been mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great powers along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha.
According to an ancient Hindu calendar, the first meridian of the planet earth passes through Ujjain, thus marking the city as the universal time coordinate. The greatest religious congregation of the Hindus, Kumbha Melais held in Ujjain.
Means “furrow” in Sanskrit.
Princess Sita was the the adopted daughter of King Janaka of Mithila and Queen Sunayna. She married Rama, the prince of Ayodhya. Sita is considered to be the epitome of purity and inner strength. She remained a devoted and dutiful wife and overcame a lot of struggles to rear her twin sons when abandoned by her husband. Sita is often considered the role model as partner and mother amongst the Hindu women.
“Sita” is derived from the Sanskrit word sīta, which means furrow. According to Ramayana, Janaka found her while ploughing as a part of a yagna and adopted her.
Shakuntala was the love child of sage Vishwamitra and apsara Menaka.
King Dushyant of the Puru dynasty meets the hermit-girl Shakuntala during one of his hunting sprees. They fall in love at first sight and get married with Mother Nature as the witness. When it was time for Dushyant to leave, he promises to send an envoy to escort her to his palace and gifts her with a signet ring.
One day, Sage Durvasa, comes by for alms at the door step of Shakuntala. Lost deeply in thoughts of her beloved, she fails to attend to the sage. Enraged by her inhospitality, the sage curses her that the person who she has been smitten by her will forget her. On pleading apology, the sage alters the curse to “ he will be able to recall you after producing a souvenir”.
Days rolled by and no comes to fetch Shakuntala. Her father packs her off to the palace as she is pregnant with Dushyant’s child. While traveling, Shakutala loses the ring in the river. Being the only identity, King Dushyant whas under the spell of the curse, refuses to recognize her. A few days later, a fisherman finds the ring in the stomach of a fish and brings it to the king. Overcome with guilt, the kings pleads apology. Shakuntala forgives him and they get married.
Means light in Urdu
Noor Inayat Khan was the eldest daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan. She was born to nobility and came from a princely Indian Muslim family. An SOE agent during the Second World War, she became the first female radio operator to be sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance. She died at the young age of 30 in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. She was a beautiful princess who led an exemplary life.
Malavika means- princess of malawa.
Malavika is also the name of the central character in Kalidasa’s (the legendary Indian poet) first play – Malavikagnimitram. The play which was written in the 5th century is a gripping love story of a king who falls in love with his chief queen’s maid – Malavika. When the queen discovers the king’s love for Malavika, she becomes infuriated and has her imprisoned. But as fate would have it, in the end she is discovered to be of royal birth and is accepted as one of his queens.
Means “adorned with gold” in Sanskrit.
Rukmini (or Rukmani) is the principal wife and queen of the Hindu God Krishna, the king of Dwaraka. Krishna kidnapped her and eloped with her to prevent an unwanted marriage at her request and saved her from the evil Shishupala. Rukmini is the first and most prominent queen of Krishna. Rukmini is also considered an avatar of Lakshmi, the Goddess of fortune.
Samyukta”, means “united” in Sanskrit
Sanyukta, also known as Sanyogita, Sanjukta, or Samyukta was the beautiful princess daughter of King Jaichand – the ruler of Kannauj. She had heard many tales of valour and courage of the Rajput king – Prithviraj Chauhan. She fell in love with him and was determined to marry him. Prithviraj too had heard of Samyktha’s stunning beauty and fell in love with her.
But both Samyuktha and Pritviraj belong to rival Rajput clans.
On hearing this news, Samyuktha’s father, king Jaichand was enraged. To insult Prithvira, he arranged a swayamvar and invited eligible princes and kings from far and wide. On the day of the swayamvar, he commissioned a statue of Prithviraj at the entrance of the palace court that served as a guard or dwarapalak (doorman).
But Prithiviraj had already made plans to elope with princess Samyuktha. On the day of the swyamvar, Samyukta walked past all the suitors and headed straight to the statue of Prithviraj and garlanded it, declaring him her husband. Prithiviraj, who was hiding behind the statue, grabbed Samyukta whisked whisked her away to Delhi on his horse.
Meera also known as Mira Bai was a 16th century Hindu poet and an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna.
Meera was a Rajput princess, born into the Rathore royal family. Her father, Ratan Singh Rathore, was the ruler of a small Rajput kingdom Kurki, Pali district of Rajasathan. Meera’s mother died when she was a baby, so her grandparents, who were devout worshippers of Lord Vishnu, looked after her
Meera got married Bhoj Raj, the crown prince of Mewar, much against her wishes. Being a devout admirer or Krisha, Meera refused to worship her husband’s family goddess. She would often sneak out of the palace and go to the village temple to offer her prayers to Lord Krishna
After Meera’s father-in-law passed away, she was coroneted as the queen. Even as a queen, Meerabai continued to visit the village mandir. It was at this temple she met her guru, Raidas, who further ignited Mirabai’s devotion. Deeply moved by her devotion, he gifted her an ektaro (a one stringed instrument), which she played while singing her compositions.
Mirabai composed and sang hundreds of songs on Lord Krishna. Even today they remain popular amongst devotees of Krishna.