Indian greetings include Namaste (Hindi and Sanskrit), Namaskar (Hindi), Juhar/Namaskar in Odia, Namaskar (Marathi), Namaskara (Kannada), Namaskaram (Telugu, Malayalam), Vanakkam (Tamil), Nomoshkaar (Bengali), Nomoskar (Assamese). All these are common spoken greetings or salutations when people meet, and are forms of farewell when they depart. Namaskar is considered slightly more formal than Namaste but both express deep respect.
Namaste is derived from Sanskrit. Namah means ‘bow’, ‘obeisance’, ‘reverential salutation’ or ‘adoration’ and te means ‘to you’. Therefore, Namaste literally means “bowing to you”. The archeological findings which was excavated from Indus Civilization dated between 3000 BC to 2000 BC revealed many male and female terracotta figures in Namaste posture.
Namaste (NAH-mas-tay) is placing both hands together with a slight bow. It is appreciated and shows respect for Indian customs. Namaskar is commonly used in India and Nepal by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists, and many continue to use this outside the Indian subcontinent.
In Indian and Nepali culture, the word is spoken at the beginning of written or verbal communication. However, the same hands folded gesture may be made wordlessly, or said without the folded hand gesture. In Hinduism it means “I bow to the divine in you.” In most Indian families, younger men and women are taught to seek the blessing of their elders by reverentially bowing to their elders. This custom is known as Pranama.
Other greetings include “Jai Jagannath” in Odia Language, “Ami Aschi” (in Bengali),”Jai Shri Krishna” (in Gujarati), “Ram Ram”, and Sat Sri Akal (Punjabi, used by followers of Sikhism), Jai Jinendra, a common greeting used across the Jain community, “Jai Bhim” used by Buddhist converts in Maharashtra after B. R. Ambedkar and “Nama Shivaya”, “Jai ambe”, “Jai Sri Ram”, “Hare Krishna”, “Hare Ram” etc. Swaminarayan Sampraday use “Jai Swaminarayan” not only as a “hello” but also as a “goodbye”.
In India, for Good morning and good night, some people also greet as “Suprabhatam/Suprabhat” and “Subhratri” respectively.
These traditional forms of greeting is almost absent in the world of business and in India’s urban environment, where the handshake is a common form of greeting.