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Amritsar Gay Travel

Amritsar gay travel will leave you speechless. Read on for one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Everything the gay traveler needs to know for Amritsar is right here.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Amritsar, India

Indian people are as friendly as they come. Amritsar’s tranquility is perfect for the lone gay traveler or anyone seeking raw beauty. The city welcomes people of all kinds from all around the world. Amritsar is the city I think most fondly of from my travels through India.
gay travel India
Amritsar Gay Travel golden temple night
golden temple India

My trip to Amritsar was in October 2016 while I took a solo trip through central and northern India. Interacting with locals was quite easy since they are all friendly and eager to talk to westerners. It truly is heartwarming; residents are genuinely happy that you are visiting their city. The common question is “how did you learn about Amritsar?”

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Gay Amritsar: Where to Stay

Hotels in Amritsar are extremely affordable. Stay in a hotel close to the Golden Temple because most of what there is to see will be in this area.

I stayed in Hotel City Park, which had wonderful breakfasts each day and a peaceful rooftop. Each morning I would stand on the rooftop, gazing at the low-rise structures for what seemed like forever.
Amritsar Streets
Amritsar Streets
gay travel India
I explored some streets beyond the town center as well. Although I felt safe the entire time, the area is poor and not very developed. Take a trek off the beaten path so you can observe the local life. It’s mesmerizing to see how these neighborhoods buzz all day.

Amritsar Experiences for the Gay Traveler

The Golden Temple is the obvious draw to Amritsar, the holiest city of Sikhism.  This magnificent site grounds the city in peace. The temple is a glitzy structure surrounded by fountain waters and marble walkways. Sikhs flock here to pay respects and I bet you will see some bathing in the water!

Amritsar Gay Travel golden temple night
The wide-open perimeter walkways are perfect to visit both day and night. I particularly liked visiting after dusk while everything is lit up.
Visitors can also wait in line with the Sikhs to see the temple up close. As you enter the walled area surrounding the temple, grab a head covering (showing hair is not allowed) and rinse your feet in the water. Toss your sandals aside and take it all in. The rhythm of the music played constantly is mesmerizing and seemed to relax me.
golden temple India
Amritsar streets India
indi-pak border performance

Walk the main strip through town at night, leading to and from the Golden Temple. The roads are called Golden Temple Way and Golden Temple Road. The glow of all the buildings is lovely. The municipality has put significant effort into beautifying this area, so make sure to experience it.

Side streets in this area have small shops where you can purchase souvenirs. I liked browsing the shops especially because these places aren’t flooded with tourists. Amritsar isn’t a global destination for westerners, so you can take in all the authentic Punjabi markets. Don’t forget to barter!

India-Pakistan Border Ceremony

Absolutely go to the India-Pakistan Border Ceremony in Attari. Ask your hotel to arrange a car to drive you there. This unforgettable ceremony takes place once per day. In the late afternoon, the Indian army and Pakistani army perform a routine on their respective sides of the border wall.

Attari border ceremony
At the end of the performance, which is essentially a display of power, the armies slam their gates shut. This signifies the tense relations between these nations. Both the Indian and Pakistani sides play very loud music to a cheering crowd in a nationalistic fashion, so it is quite a rowdy show!
Amritsar Gay Travel india border ceremony
Attari border ceremony

The group on the Pakistan side will be clearly visible. As a westerner, this is the closest I will probably ever get to Pakistan. Lahore is just a short distance away and it was surreal to say the least.

Amritsar Gay Travel india border ceremony

Upon arrival, your driver will park and you begin your journey on a long trail toward the border. Bring some extra rupees for water.

Indians and tourists alike wait in line, are checked at a security booth and then proceed toward the stadium. Ranks of visitors will be assigned benches. Citizens of India are seated separately. At the end of the ceremony, there will be opportunity to get a photo with an Indian soldier!

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Gay Amritsar: Things to Do at Night

As you may have expected, there is no gay nightlife in Amritsar. There isn’t really any straight nightlife either! The locals actually prefer to enjoy some drinking at home.

indi-pak border performance

You may read about how Sikhism prohibits consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants, but the truth is that many Sikhs do in fact drink. Smoking however, is rare amongst the Sikhs.

The only place you will truly be able to grab a beer will be in the comfort of your hotel. But who is traveling to Amritsar for nightlife, anyway?

Amritsar Gay Travel Tips

The most important tip I can give you is don’t wear shorts! If you do, locals will look at you like you have three heads. This screams uninformed tourist. It is just customary here, so grab a pair of lightweight, breathable and light-colored shorts for your explorations.

border ceremony India

Amritsar is quite a warm city, but not as hot as other Indian cities further south. I visited in mid-October and the temperature was very bearable. I do recommend sunscreen though.

If you use an American Express card while travelling, you may want to consider bringing another card type. I had frequent difficulty paying for hotels with my old Amex card while in India. You certainly can’t go wrong with Visa or Mastercard.

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Authentic Gay Travel

Are you on a long journey through India? Check out some tips on how to organize your life and refresh yourself for long-term travel.

India Gay Rights

Being gay is still taboo in India and homophobia is still prevalent, although it is on the decline. India still has a long way to go regarding LGBT inclusivity. The laws regarding homosexuality have oscillated over the years with a recent positive outcome.
border ceremony India
Amritsar Gay Travel gay nightlife Amritsar
Amritsar Gay Travel gay nightlife Amritsar

India decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. Then in 2013, this ruling was reversed with the government deferring to legislators on the issue. However in September 2018, the Indian high court unanimously agreed to decriminalize same-sex relations: a huge step forward.

Tolerance of the LGBT community in India is slowly but surely changing. There is significant support for LGBT people in most large Indian cities. They are much less conservative as you might expect.

Enjoy your stay in this wonderful north Indian city. If you travel to Amritsar, I’d love to know about your Amritsar gay travel experience. Send me an e-mail telling em about your trip.

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Next, check out the wolfyy Mumbai Gay Travel Guide, as well as the Delhi Gay Travel Guide.

Need more ideas for gay vacations? Explore wolfyy’s full list of gay travel destinations.

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