Delhi Gay Travel
Essential Delhi gay travel advice for hotels, experiences, 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.
My time in Delhi was short, but my fondest memories of India are of my visit to the Indian capital.
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.
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.
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.
If you’d like to explore other neighborhoods, here’s a complete list of the highly rated best rated hotels in Delhi.
Delhi Gay Travel Experiences
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.
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!
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, so please let me know how it is!
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. 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.
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.
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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.
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.
If you’re bound for Old Delhi, follow these 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!