Delhi Gay Travel
Essential Delhi gay travel tips, where to stay, top hotels, experiences, gay life & my story about meeting a Delhi gay local.
The Gay Travel Experience: Delhi, India
I traveled to Delhi on my way to the city of Amritsar as well as to visit Agra, where I went to see the Taj Mahal. Delhi is the first city in India where I met a gay local. 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.
I traveled to Delhi and Agra on a solo journey through central and northern India. Read more about solo travel and why I love it!
Gay Delhi: Hotels & Where to Stay
As is typical in India, accommodations are cheap. Hotels in Delhi are affordable for travelers. Try staying in the Janpath neighborhood New Delhi. I stayed at Hotel Palace Heights on Connaught Place. I loved enjoying coffee each morning on their beautiful terrace, breathing in the humid morning air.
The Connaught Place area is quite commercialized, so you’ll surely feel safe walking around any time of day or night. Well-lit store fronts and restaurants line the main circle. I felt very comfortable here and would definitely recommend Connaught Place hotels.
If you’d like to explore other neighborhoods, here’s a complete list of the highly rated three to five-star hotels in Delhi.
Delhi Gay Travel Experiences
First and foremost, visit both the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. Head to any travel agency in the area and get a private driver for the day. Depending on what you do, this should cost between $50 and $70 USD.
I cannot think of words to 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 cannot even render the true pathways. Go check Google Maps and you’ll see what I mean! It’s literally a blur.
The Jama Masjid should also top your list of attractions. One of the largest mosques in India, definitely make a trip. During my visit to Delhi, I got in an Uber bound for the Jama Masjid. With all the traffic though, I ended up arriving after dusk.
Take note of local Indian restaurants as you walk the streets of Delhi. Some of the best stuff isn’t on Google. 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 I adore.
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?” We were on our way to a little dive place called MyBar. They gained my trust.
Turns out we 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 to one another.
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.
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Delhi Gay Travel Tips
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.
If you’re bound for Old Delhi, 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 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.
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.
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