Are you an Indian? Have you visited India? Are you planning to visit India? Whenever we visit a place, the first thing that strikes our mind is the language. What should I say when I meet people over there? How do I greet people? When I interact with people outside India, they mostly greet me with Namaste. But, do you know there are many other ways to greet people in India.
The greetings are the first thing you want to know about any place in the world. Also, it is the first thing that you present to others when traveling or meeting people other than from your place.
Every place has its way of greetings, for example, in Italy, Spain, and Portugal you Kisses on each cheek, and in the USA, Handshake, fist bump, hug, or wave is enough. When people found that you are an Indian, they will fold their hands and greet you by saying Namaste. Namaste is the commonly known greetings in India.
However, in India, the culture and language change when you travel for 50-100 Kilometers. India is a diverse country with a lot of languages spoken and many cultures to embrace. I would say, one life is not enough to learn everything about Indian culture and languages for a normal human being. Yes, of course! there are exceptions.
Surprising Ways to Greet in India
When everything changes, how do we expect the same ways to greet in India. Here is a list of a few ways to greet in India.
Stand up, press your palms together, and say Namaste!
In most of India, saying Namaste with a bow is a common and profound method to greet people. Namaste, Namskar, Namaskaram, Namaskara, or Namaskaramu have the same meaning. They all mean that I bow to the divine inside you. In India, we respect our elders most, so you must greet elders first to show your respect to them. If you can bear a smile when greeting that would be a cherry on the cake. Don’t forget to stand up when greetings.
Are you meeting a Hindu who speaks Hindi – Say, Ram Ram Ji!
Saying Ram Ram Ji is a common way to greet in Uttar Pradesh and the Haryana state of India.
In Awadh and Mithila you will hear people saying Sita Ram, Sita Ram. In some parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, it changes to Jai Siya Ram.
Shri Ram, Rama, or Ramachandra is the seventh avatar of the god Vishnu. By saying Ram Ram you are reciting the name of god and reminding everyone to follow his conduct.
When you are in Gujarat and greeting a Hindu – Say, Jai Shri Krishna!
If you are traveling to Gujarat, meeting a Gujarati Family, or Binging content showing Gujarati tradition, you will notice that Gujarati greet each other by saying Jai Shri Krishna.
Jai Shri Krishna means Victory to Lord Krisna. It is said to recite the name of God, praise Lord Krishna, and remind everyone to believe in God.
Say Radhe Radhe – When traveling to Braj Bhoomi
Radha is the queen in Braj (Radha Raani) and it is believed that you need to go through Radha Raani to meet Lord Krishna. If you are traveling to Vrindavan, Mathura, Gokul, and Braj Bhoomi, just say Radhe Radhe to greet everyone.
When you are in Punjab, say, Sat Sri Akaal
When you are exploring Punjab or meeting a Punjabi family, greet them by saying Sat Sri Akaal. It is the second half of the Sikh Clarion call, Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal. The Clarion call is given by the tenth Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, which means Shout Aloud in Ecstasy, Truth is the Ultimate God.
We say Sat Sri Akaal to remind you that Truth is the Ultimate God.
Khamma Ghani – Rajasthan
There are mind-boggling places to see in Rajasthan; the same is true also for their culture. The Royal Rajasthan, as people call it, has its way to greet people. People here say Khamma Ghani when they meet and greet.
The word Khamma means greetings and the Ghani means a lot; so when we say Khamma Ghani, we mean a lot of greetings. It is also said in the same way as we do Namaste, by pressing our palms together.
Vanakkam – Tamil Nadu
No matter if they are in Tamil Nadu or anywhere else in the world, Vanakkam is used by Tamil speaking people to greet each other. It has the same meaning as Namaste, that is, I bow to the divine inside you.
People following Jain Dharma says Jai Jinendra, which means victory to Jinendra. Jinendra or Tirthankar is the human being who has conquered all the senses and have realized the ultimate knowledge.
Another form of Namaste used to greet elders, which means bowing forward. It is commonly used in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
This form of greeting in Arabic and is followed by the Muslim community, which means, Peace be upon you. When someone says As-salam Alaykum to you, you need to reply by Wa Alai Kum Salaam. Sometimes people will simply say, Salaam.
The Final Word on the Ways to Greet in India
The way people greet each other in India, changes with the place, religion, or culture they follow. However, in any form of greetings, you will find our love and respect towards elders and praising God.
If you are coming from outside India and meeting someone strange, I would suggest you greet someone by saying Namaste. Because if you greet someone wrongly, it may heart their religious sentiments.