Delhi Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Delhi gay travel guide to hotels, things to do, gay life & my story about meeting a Delhi gay local.
The Gay Travel Experience: Delhi, India
Delhi is the first city in India where I met a gay local. It was complete happenstance. A casual conversation on the streets of Delhi led me to a night full of King Fisher beers and laughing with the locals.
The night I met him and his group of friends, I had no idea he was gay. Read more later in this Delhi gay travel guide and I’ll explain how it all happened. First, I’ll mention the best places for gay travelers to stay in Delhi, along with some awesome things to do.
My time in Delhi was short, but my fondest memories of India are of my visit to the Indian capital.
I traveled alone to Delhi to see the famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort after staying in Mumbai and slowly making my way to the northern city of Amritsar.
Gay Delhi: Hotels & Where to Stay
Hotels in Delhi are quite affordable, so most travelers will be able to stay in a high-quality hotel.
I stayed at Hotel Palace Heights in the Janpath neighborhood of New Delhi. I loved enjoying coffee each morning on their beautiful terrace, breathing in the humid morning air.
The Connaught Place area is quite commercialized and you’ll feel safe walking around any time of day or night. Well-lit storefronts and restaurants line the main circle. I felt very comfortable here and definitely recommend Connaught Place hotels.
If you’ll be visiting the Taj Mahal, it’s better to stay in Delhi and make a day trip to Agra. Since Agra has such an extreme number of tourists going to the Taj Mahal, it doesn’t feel authentic.
Delhi Gay Hotels
Check out Mister & Art House if you’re looking specifically for a gay hotel in Delhi. They claim to be India’s first small boutique guest house and art gallery only for men.
Mister & Art House is toward the south of Delhi in the Greater Kailash area. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the Connaught Place area I mentioned above.
More Delhi Hotels I Recommend
Here are a few fantastic hotels in Delhi that are highly rated, affordable, and perfectly located for experiencing the best of the city.
Delhi Gay Travel Experiences
Visiting Old Delhi
Words can’t describe how wildly stimulating it was to be in Old Delhi. Roads and paths are jam-packed with cars, horse-drawn carriages, motorbikes, and rickshaws. This immense density was something I had never experienced before.
Old Delhi is so compact, satellite imagery can barely render the true pathways. Go check Google Maps and you’ll see what I mean!
Taj Mahal & Agra Fort
Or, book a Taj Mahal & Agra Fort private tour in advance. Depending on what you do, this should cost between $50 and $70 USD.
Your tour should include a driver to and from Agra (3+ hour drive each way), private tour guides for both sites, and possibly admission. Bring extra cash for food and incidentals.
The Jama Masjid should also top your list of attractions. One of the largest mosques in India, don’t miss the chance to see it. During my visit to Delhi, I got in an Uber bound for the Jama Masjid. But with all the traffic, I ended up arriving after dusk.
I hadn’t known that after sunset the mosque is closed! From the outside, it looked marvelous.
Delhi Restaurants & Food
Take note of local Indian restaurants as you walk the streets of Delhi. Some of the best stuff isn’t on Google. Your best bet is to seek out the local-feeling spots. I also recommend avoiding restaurants in main commercial centers like Connaught Place.
Make sure to try some Gulab Jamun wherever you end up having dinner, a typical Indian sweet dessert. It tastes incredible.
Looking to meet other gay travelers to explore with? Join wolfyy’s Gay Travel Facebook Chat and introduce yourself to some new friends!
Nightlife: My Gay Delhi Experience
After a rest from a day of exploring, I decided to go for a walk after dark through the streets of New Delhi. Shops had closed for the day and I wanted to take in the vibe of the city.
While searching Google for a local bar, a young man approached me. He asked if I needed directions. Thinking he wanted something from me, I was a little stand-offish but continued to engage in casual conversation.
After a few minutes, three other young guys started approaching us, laughing and shoving each other playfully along the way. All the men greeted one another happily and started speaking in Hindi. I became a little suspicious but did not feel threatened.
Long story short, after fifteen or so minutes of chatting, they convinced me to head to a local bar with them. I thought to myself, “what the hell…why not?” They gained my trust.
We headed to MyBar, a small dive bar, and had a blast drinking beer and sharing some of our personal lives with one another until the bar closed!
Slightly drunk and walking back to my area of town, we all started saying goodbye.
As I hugged my new friends goodbye, the last one held on just a little longer than expected. A little bell went off in my head, and things suddenly clicked. We all added each other on social media and said goodnight.
His friends didn’t know he is gay, as you might expect for a young man in India. I realized as we chatted a bit the next day, as they invited me to a house party the next night. I do feel lucky to have met a gay man in India and learned a little about his life, however short of an experience it was.
During my visit in 2016, same-sex relations were still criminal and so as you might imagine, gay life is tough for people in India. Read more on India gay life in the final section of this guide.
Delhi Gay Travel Tips
Download a Translator App
I recommend downloading a translator app on your cell phone, preferably one that does not require cell service. There were a few situations with my Uber drivers where they did not speak any English and so I needed my translator for Hindi.
Delhi's Unique Street Grid
You may notice the streets of New Delhi are a web of traffic circles. The British architect Edwin Lutyens planned the city, built while Delhi was under British rule. Most of New Delhi’s architecture also reflects this, with stately classical styles.
Staying Safe in Delhi
If you’re bound for Old Delhi, follow these travel safety tips, keep your belongings secure, and don’t carry too much cash. I say this only because with such an intense density of people, you’ll likely be in close proximity to others. Don’t let pickpockets steal from you.
Bribery is common in India. If you for any reason have to deal with the police, expect to pay them a monetary bribe to make things right. Long story short, I lost my wallet in an Uber, and the driver requested police meet us to ensure safety.
My Indian local friends helped out, vouching for me in Hindi. I ended up having to pay the cops a few hundred rupees.
Gay Rights in India
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.
India decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. In 2013, this ruling was reversed with the government deferring to legislators on the issue. Then 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 changing. In most large Indian cities there is significant support for LGBT people. They are much less conservative.
In 2016, the International LGBT and Intersex Association found that about a third of Indians support same-sex marriage and another third are not sure. This speaks to the fact many Indians simply need guidance on supporting their fellow LGBT citizens.
All in all, India has made great progress so far, and I am looking forward to seeing even more protections be put in place for the LGBT community!
Explore more of India with wolfyy’s Mumbai gay guide. Or explore the incredibly historic north Indian city of Amritsar.