The name Barapasaurus ("big-legged lizard") is derived from bara meaning 'big' and pa meaning 'leg' in several Indian languages; the Greek word sauros means 'lizard'. This name was used as a nomen nudum since a femur measuring over 1.7 m was unearthed at 1961. The specific name tagorei means 'Tagore's', which honors Bengali poet, writer, painter, and musician Rabindranath Tagore. The first year of fieldwork was carried out in the centenary year of Tagore's birth.
Although a very early and unspecialized sauropod, Barapasaurus shows the building plan typical for later, more derived sauropods: the cervical vertebrae were elongated, resulting in a long neck. The trunk was short and holds columnar limbs which indicate an obligate quadrupedal posture. Even the size, which is estimated at approximately 14 meters, is comparable with that of later sauropods.
The vertebral column already shows many traits that are typical for later sauropods which allowed them to attain great body sizes, although in later sauropods these traits are much more developed. The centra and neural spines show early hints of hollowing as a weight-saving measure. The dorsal vertebrae are stabilized with hyposphene-hypantrum articulations, accessory projections that link the vertebrae with each other. The sacrum is strengthened through an additional fourth sacral vertebra.
From the skull, only three whole teeth and three crowns are known. The largest known tooth is 5.8 cm in height. Like that of later sauropods, the teeth are spoon shaped and show wrinkled enamel. A basal trait is the coarse serration.