Born to a Punjabi family in London, Nayyar's family relocated to India when Nayyar himself was only four years old. Nayyar soon after attended St Columba's School in New Delhi, India, where he went on to play badminton for the school team. In 1999, Nayyar relocated to America to earn a Bachelor's in Science in Business (BSS) at the University of Portland. During the time that he was at work on his degree, Nayyar commenced acting classes, and went on to appear in a number of school plays. After taking part in the American College Theater Festival and winning its Mark Twain Prize for Comic Brilliance, Nayyar decided to become an actor, soon pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Acting (MFA) from Temple University. As of December 2011, Nayyar has been married to the 2006 Miss India winner Neha Kapur. Nayyar is also notable for playing Raj Koothrappali on The Big Bang Theory.