Jaipur is famed for being the Pink City of India, but is it a place fit for gay travellers? We travelled to the capital city of Rajasthan to gain some insight into what it’s like being gay in Jaipur.
Jaipur is a magical city, bursting with life, culture, and history. It’s a land of awe-inspiring architecture, where enchanting forts and grandeur palaces depict the tales of times gone by. It’s the perfect example of organised chaos. Full of unique characters and absurd ways of life. There’s no doubt about it, Jaipur will leave you spellbound.
For us, Jaipur is one of the most exciting cities in all of India. I would be lying if I said it was our favourite place in India because Jaipur is way too hectic to claim that title. However, there is no denying its charm. The energy of the city is contagious, and once you see past the madness, Jaipur is a realm of beauty and mystery.
For LGBT+ travellers, it’s worth noting that Jaipur doesn’t have much of a gay scene. Or any scene for that matter. If you are looking to party, you’re better off heading to Mumbai or Goa. But if you want to learn about the interesting Rajasthani heritage, and check out some magnificent architectural wonders, Jaipur is an essential addition to your India itinerary.
In this travel guide, we will outline all of the best places to go in Jaipur as an LGBT+ traveller. You’ll find a list of gay-friendly hotels and bars and our top tips as a gay couple in Jaipur. We will also touch on LGBT+ rights and social opinions in India, to help you prepare for an incredible, and most importantly, a safe, trip of a lifetime.
Gay in: Jaipur – 2020 LGBT+ Travel Guide
*Don’t leave home without any backpacker essentials with our free printable packing list.
LGBT+ Rights in India
When it comes to LGBT rights in India, the past 20 years have been a long and volatile road. A series of significant wins and disappointing setbacks saw LGBT+ activists taking one step forward and two steps back again.
Thankfully, September 2018, in a historic decision, saw acts of homosexuality decriminalised in India. With that came an apology to the LGBT+ community, and a ruling that LGBT+ people are just as entitled to be protected under anti-discrimination laws as everybody else. Gay marriage and same-sex adoption are currently under review by the India law commission. And India even has an openly gay prince!
While the change in the legal situation is a leap in the right direction, there is still a way to go in India. India is still very much a socially conservative country, and complete tolerance towards the LGBT+ community is going to be a long road. Social pressures to have children and honour family traditions means that many LGBT+ people live closeted lives.
Is Jaipur safe for gay travellers?
Out of all the states we visited in India, it’s safe to say that Rajasthan is one of the most conservative. The cultural traditions still very much reflect India’s ancient way of life, and it’s generally a very religious and spiritual place. With this in mind, it’s important to act in line with local customs – regardless if you’re a gay traveller or not.
Having said that, we always felt very comfortable backpacking Jaipur as an LGBT+ couple. While we didn’t necessarily flaunt our relationship in public, we didn’t feel like we had to go out of our way to hide it. For example, we’d always book double rooms when approaching guest houses, and this was never an issue. Other than a couple of ‘curious’ men, of course, in which case we’d swiftly change the subject.
The sad truth is, if there are any social norms or pressures, they very rarely apply to tourists. Foreigners will always be treated differently to locals, and so long as you act respectfully, Jaipur is considered very safe for gay travellers. I suggest checking out this article regarding social etiquette in Rajasthan, which will help you avoid any unintentional disrespect.
Explore Jaipur with a Gay Guide
To see all the best sights of Jaipur with a gay and local guide, check out India Gay Travel Buddy. The site allows you to connect with a local guide or travel companion, who can show you the sights while ensuring you a comfortable and enjoyable trip. For now, this service is for gay men only.
The Gay Scene in Jaipur
As already mentioned, there isn’t much of a gay scene in Jaipur. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should consider visiting Mumbai or Delhi instead. That said, there have been a select few LGBT+ centred events in Jaipur in recent years.
For example, Feronia Fashion Night, an androgynous fashion show, was held at a top Jaipur hotel recently. It was the biggest fashion event ever to be held in Jaipur, and all of the participants were transgender. What’s more, 2019 even saw a selection of Pride parties thrown in the Pink City. Both represent historic and groundbreaking milestones in the fight for LGBTQ rights in Rajasthan.
So while there are no gay bars or clubs in Jaipur for the time being, I think it’s only a matter of time before that changes. In the meantime, you should run into no bother socialising and having fun at the following popular bars and hangouts.
Gay Friendly Bars in Jaipur
Club Patio Jaipur – Centrally located but nicely tucked away, Club Patio is a chic and trendy bar set inside a traditional Rajasthani mansion. The bar is famed for its delicious food, better drinks, and delightful ambience.
F Bar and Lounge – Designed to be a show-stopper, F Bar and Lounge is a lavish bar set in the Hotel Golden Tulip. One of the few places open until the early hours in Jaipur, things get a little crazy of an evening time. Fuelled by delicious cocktails & wine, you can expect a fun-filled night here.
Bar Palladio – For a slightly more relaxing experience, extravagant Bar Palladio is well-worth checking out. The colonial-era interior design is truly breathtaking, and the delicious menu will keep you here for hours.
Gay-Friendly Hotels in Jaipur
While we struggled to find many explicitly gay hotels in Jaipur, we found that most establishments are happy to welcome LGBT+ travellers. These hotels, by reliable resources, are acclaimed to be gay-friendly. Here I list a hostel, budget, mid-range, and luxury option to try to cater to various budgets and interests. For more places to stay in Jaipur, you can check the latest prices here.
Hostel $ – Hostel Lumb’s Nest
We stayed in a private room at Hostel Lumbs Nest in Jaipur, and we couldn’t rate it any higher. The owners went out of their way to make us feel at home and were completely comfortable with us being a lesbian couple. The room was spacious and clean, and we had a delicious local breakfast served to us every morning. My only complaint is that the location isn’t very central, but in the end, it was nice to be able to escape the hustle & bustle.
Budget $ – Treebo Raya Inn
Treebo is a popular chain of budget hotels in India, and their 3* establishments are always a reliable choice when seeking a value option. Located 100m from Jaipur Railway Station, Treebo Raya Inn is central enough to visit all top tourist attractions in Jaipur conveniently. For less than $20, all rooms come equipped with air-conditioning, wifi, and everything else you need for a comfortable stay.
Mid-Range $$ – Shahpura House
It’s incredible what you can get for your money in Jaipur, and Shahpura House is a prime example. Set inside a traditional Rajasthan haveli, this luxurious hotel resembles a small palace. The interior is breathtaking and provides an oasis of tranquillity to retreat to after a busy day of sightseeing. Featuring a swimming pool, spa, restaurant, and beautiful rooms, this is unbelievable value for money at under $100 a night.
Luxury $$$ – Taj Rambagh Palace
If you’re looking for nothing short of the best, Taj Rambagh Palace is one of the most iconic hotels in India. You can expect nothing short of 5* luxury and celebrity treatment at the former palace, that once served as the residence to the Maharaja of Jaipur. Even if you don’t plan on staying, click on the link and check out this insane hotel, commonly referred to as the ‘Jewel of Jaipur.’
Things to do in Gay Jaipur
Packed to bursting with architectural wonders and historical sights, Jaipur is a fascinating city to explore. Whether we were visiting the top tourist attractions or merely meandering the local markets, we’d always come across something that completely blew our minds. Here are some of our favourite places to visit and things to do in Jaipur:
Watch the Sunset at Nahargarh Fort
It’s no accident that watching the sunset at Nahargarh fort is at the top of our list of things to do in Jaipur. Out of all the expensive attractions in Jaipur, this is probably our favourite memory of the Pink City.
Interestingly, Nahargarh translates to ‘Tiger Fort’. Rumours say that tigers, along with a variety of other wildlife roam the same Aravali mountain range where the fort resides. Perched upon the enchanting fortress, you can almost picture the scene. Everything about Jaipur feels like a scene straight from the movies.
The wonderful thing about Nahargarh Fort is that it provides unrivalled views over the city. It’s also one of the few places where you can enjoy some peace and quiet. There are a handful of attractions within the fort, which include a palace and the Indian version of Madame Tussauds; however, when we got there, they were closed. From what I’ve heard, they aren’t worth the entrance fees, so honestly, I’d save your cash for something else.
Watching the sunset here, on the other hand, should be at the top of your Jaipur bucket list. If you want to read more about our experience, including how to find the best sunset spot, check out our blog post on Nahargarh Fort here.
Allow: 2-3 hours/ Entrance: 200 Rupees for foreigners
Marvel the Architecture at Amber Palace
Out of all the opulent palaces in Jaipur, we agreed that Amber Palace is the most impressive. You may hear the names Amer Fort or Amber Fort being thrown around by locals or taxi drivers – they are referring to Amber Palace.
The awe-inspiring structure, constructed from red sandstone and marble, once served as the residence to Jaipur’s Royal Family. They’ve since moved to the City Palace, which was a bad real estate move, in my opinion. But hey, who am I to judge their decisions?
Anyhow, why should you visit the Amber Palace? Because it’s a remarkable UNESCO listed building, that’s why. Inside the palace grounds, you will find a series of pristine gardens, intricate courtyards, and spectacular photo opportunities, including a stunning mirrored room.
Our only request, please whatever you, do not opt for the optional elephant rides up to the palace. The walk isn’t strenuous, but if you are unable to walk, there are more ethical options such as the golf buggies. This article outlines the horrors behind animal tourism and is worth a read before visiting India.
Allow: 2-3 hours/ Entrance: 500 Rupees for foreigners
Must Read – Amer Fort & Amber Palace – A Reliable Guide
Go on a Spiritual Journey to Galti Ji (Monkey) Temple
The extraordinary Galta Ji temple is probably our favourite temple that we visited in India. It’s often referred to as the monkey temple, thanks to the hundreds of mischievous monkeys that occupy the grounds. While on that note, do not mistake their cuteness for kindness. They can be evil little f****** and in our experience, it’s better (and safer) to admire from a distance.
Nevertheless, a visit to this temple is an absolute must when visiting Jaipur. Not only is it a popular tourist spot, but a well-respected pilgrimage site among Hindu devotees. Throughout the day, thousands of visitors come to pray and bathe in the temples seven holy baths. Fed by natural spring water from the mountains, locals believe it will purify the soul and cleanse away sins.
What especially impressed us about this temple was the unusual location. The multi-tiered complex has been carved within a narrow mountain pass, and is honestly, a sight to behold. Navigate your way through the several levels of the grounds, for incredible views over Jaipur.
Allow: 2-3 hours/ Entrance: Free/Camera: 50 Rupees
Suggested Read – Galti Ji (Monkey) Temple – A Reliable Guide
Seek Solitude at the Amer Fort View Point
Another of our favourites spots to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is the Amer Fort View Point. Why do we love it? Well, despite becoming somewhat Insta-famous in recent years, it remains one of the few hidden gems in Jaipur. When the Pink City gets overwhelming, which it will, get yourself here and lap up the well-deserved tranquillity.
It isn’t too challenging to reach the viewpoint, which again has me questioning why it’s not so popular. You only have to walk out the rear entrance of Amber Palace, past the lake and across the road to reach the start of the trail. I say trail because it sounds adventurous. It’s actually just a staircase, with abnormally large steps that were tricky to climb with my little legs.
Truthfully, the climb up is enough to get the heart rate soaring; however, anybody of a reasonable fitness level will complete it in 10-15 minutes. From the top, a series of watchtowers boast a spectacular view of the fortress and city below. If you have the energy, you can also walk the perimeter of the fort in search of different vantage points.
Allow: 1-2 hours/ Entrance: Free
Suggested Read – Amer Fort & Amber Palace – A Reliable Guide
Be Ripped Off at the City Palace
No, seriously. Visiting the Jaipur City Palace may be at the top of your Jaipur bucket list. But, I regret to tell you that it’s a bit of a tourist trap, in my opinion. Don’t worry; I know I owe an explanation to this controversial claim which you can read in detail here: An Honest Review of the Jaipur City Palace.
First of all, other than the Taj Mahal, Jaipur City Palace is the most expensive tourist attraction we visited in India. After every guidebook, travel blog, and tour guide recommended we visit; we gathered it ought to be worth the hefty entrance fee. Sadly, we were disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s no denying the architectural brilliance behind the palace complex. A Unesco World Heritage Site and residence to the Royal Family, naturally there are no holds barred in its extravagance. However, this isn’t uncommon in India. Captivating architecture is everywhere and is accessible for far less than what we paid to enter the City Palace.
Nevertheless, if you’ve dreamed of visiting the City Palace, you should probably go and draw your own conclusion. But for those on a budget, maybe you’ll want to consider skipping this one.
Allow: 1-2 hours/ General Entrance: 700 Rupees/Premium Entrance: 2000 Rupees
Suggested Read – Jaipur City Palace – An Honest Review
Admire the Iconic Hawa Mahal Building
The iconic Hawa Mahal, otherwise known as ‘Palace of Winds’, is one of the most recognisable buildings in all of India. Considered the crown jewel of Jaipur and located in the heart of the Pink City, you’ll want to schedule in some time to marvel this masterpiece.
Historically, the palace got constructed for female members of the Royal Family, so they could look down at the city without being seen. The remarkable architecture of the complex includes 953 small windows, carved with intricate latticework and resembling the pattern of honeycomb.
While it’s possible to go inside the palace, we decided it was enough to admire it from the outside. Across the road, there are a couple of rooftop cafes that allow an unobstructed view and great photo opportunities.
Tattoo Cafe was our personal favourite, as the Instagram famous cafe is always busy and cramped. We enjoyed a magnificent sunset here one evening, and as night fell, the palace lit up like a fairy tale.
Go on a Walking Adventure
Our favourite way to go Sightseeing in Jaipur was to travel on foot. Not only will you cover some of the best sights in Jaipur, but it’s a chance to immerse in the culture. Jaipur is a compelling city, and you’re in a land of extraordinary characters. We loved interacting with the locals, sharing some stories over a chai before moving on to the next stop on our itinerary.
One piece of advice, however, is to be mindful when it comes to taking photos. You’ll have some bizarre encounters, and it’s natural to want to take pictures. The key is to be respectful and try to gauge the situation. More often than not, the locals are only too happy to let you take a photo. And you’ll likely get a lot more from the interaction than just a picture.
Brave the Local Bazaars
There aren’t many places where you’ll experience such energy as you do at the local markets in India. Again, this is a perfect way to immerse in the local culture. The wheeling & dealing, the tantalising aromas, the plethora of colour – it’s a brutal attack on the senses in the best possible way.
Jaipur is considered one of the best places in India for shopping. If you want to go home with some souvenirs, keep your eyes peeled for gemstones, rugs, and puppets. These are all traditional items of Jaipur. Check out this article on how to haggle sensibly in India to ensure a fair exchange for both parties.
Jump on the Instagram Bandwagon at Patrika Gate
Unsurprisingly, Jaipur is one of the most photographed cities in all of India. We learnt to wear our cameras around our necks 90% of the time because honestly, photo opportunities are everywhere. But while that may be true, there aren’t many locations more photogenic than the ornate Patrika Gate.
From the perfectly symmetrical archways to the vibrant artwork that adorns the ceilings and walls, awe-inspiring Patrika Gate is every photographer’s dream. Although the gate is one of the most Instagrammed spots in India, no photo can ever do it justice. So you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
Allow: 1-2 hours/ General Entrance: Free
Suggested Read – Patrika Gate – A Reliable Guide
Visit the Jaipur Stepwell
When I think of some of my favourite architecture in India, the various stepwells we encountered always spring to mind. I’m not entirely sure why. The design is so simple, but at the same time, mesmerising. I guess symmetry can be quite stimulating for a perfectionist!
Historically, stepwells were used to reserve water for times of drought, and while rarely used today, remain an architectural treasure throughout the country. The Jaipur Stepwell is one of the most famous thanks to Instagram; however, you’ll need to bribe the guard if you want to replicate the shot.
Allow: 30 Mins/ General Entrance: Free
Organised Tours in Jaipur
Organised tours are a convenient way to explore all the famous sights in Jaipur, without the hassle of having to plan out everything yourself. Generally, we like to explore places independently; however, if we have limited time and a lot to cover, we always try to find an affordable day tour that allows us to see it all.
Day tours are also a great way to get to know a place on a much deeper level. Most tours include an English speaking guide, so naturally, you get to learn all about the local history and culture. Here are some day tours in Jaipur that are worth considering.
Jaipur Heritage Tour
For a hassle-free experience where you need to do nothing but make a booking, the Jaipur Heritage Tour is the best-rated tour on the market. On this tour, you’ll visit the cities most famous landmarks, including Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, and the Jaipur City Palace. There will be air-conditioned transportation provided to make your journey as comfortable as possible. And an English speaking guide will join you throughout the day. For more information and to make a booking, check out the link below.
Jaipur Private Customised Tour
If you’d prefer to have a little more flexibility on your tour, the Jaipur Private Customised Tour allows you to build your own itinerary. Simply let the tour operator know the sights which are most important to you, and they will take care of the rest. Or if you’d prefer for them to make recommendations based on your interests, this is an option as well. For more information and to make a booking, check out the link below.
Jaipur Instagram Tour
As the name suggests, this tour will allow you to cover all of the top Instagram locations in Jaipur over the space of one day. Accompanied by an English speaking guide, this tour is perfect for travellers who may need assistance taking photos at busy locations. Bearing in mind that tripods are not allowed in most tourist attractions in Jaipur, this is a worth-while tour indeed. For more information and to make a booking, check out the link below.
Gay-Friendly Restaurants in Jaipur
You can find a variety of restaurants and cafes in Jaipur, suitable for all budgets and tastes. As always, we loved the local food; however, if you need a break from the spice, Jaipur has some good westernised options too. To give you some inspiration, here is a handful of our favourite restaurants in Jaipur:
Tips & Advice for Gay Travellers in Jaipur
Respect Social Etiquette
I mentioned already that Jaipur is a conservative city, so acting inline with local customs is especially encouraged here. I guarantee that by doing so, you will enrich your overall travel experience as you earn the respect of locals. When that happens, a realm of opportunity opens up to you. Whether it be bigger portions at restaurants, insider tips & knowledge of the local area, or even an invite into somebodies home, I guarantee it will be worth the minor effort. Check out this article by Trip Savvy for some great tips on general social etiquette in India.
Avoid Public Displays of Affection
You could say this falls under the category of respecting social etiquette; however, it’s important to note that this isn’t a rule just for gay travellers in Jaipur. Public displays of affection are discouraged even among straight couples, and best kept to a minimum when travelling throughout India.
Staying Safe in Jaipur
While Jaipur is considered relatively safe for tourists, there are a few things to be aware of when enjoying your time in the city.
Firstly, we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various tourist scams in India. Unfortunately, they are not uncommon, and we know of travellers who have been stung for hundreds of pounds. The last thing we want is for your impression of India to be tainted by these avoidable scams. Knowledge is power!
While violent crimes against tourists are rare, petty theft offences such as pickpocketing and bag snatching do occur. Try to avoid walking alone at night and when visiting famous attractions, keep your belongings secure. We use….
Unfortunately, minor sexual assault offences against female tourists are also not uncommon. While it’s mostly local men trying to cop a feel, it can be a frightful ordeal. Again, refrain from travelling at night or being alone with intoxicated local men. It’s also recommended to dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention.
Another minor risk to be aware of in Jaipur is road traffic accidents. Be vigilant when crossing the busy main roads, and avoid driving unless you are confident you can handle the traffic. The driving standards are pretty poor and can be intimidating for even the most experienced of drivers.
Finally, be aware of natural disasters in Jaipur. Earthquakes, flooding and severe storms are known to happen. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Festivals in Jaipur
There are so many festivals and celebrations that take place throughout the calendar year in India, that you’d be unlucky to miss at least one during your travels there. Some of the best festivals to celebrate in Jaipur include Diwali Festival, Teej Festival, and Kites Festival.
With that, don’t even think about going to Jaipur without travel insurance. Should you need health care while travelling in Jaipur, you will want the best money can buy. Travel Insurance could be your saving grace.
We always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance, as they are affordable, offer a variety of packages and add ons, and allow you to make amendments to your policy while travelling. Say, for example, you go scuba diving or hiking a mountain, World Nomads will amend your plan accordingly. It’s a super handy feature that we’ve used numerous times including the time we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp.
If you need further convincing, read our article on why you need travel insurance. Or get an on-the-spot quote from World Nomads using the form below.
Getting Around in Jaipur
The most convenient way to get around Jaipur is by scooter. The cost is around Rs. 500 for 24hrs; however, the roads of Jaipur can be intimidating for even the most experienced of drivers. I would advise you to refrain from driving unless you are highly confident.
Alternatively, you can find a public bus network in place in Jaipur. The buses were reliable in our experience and are by far the cheapest option. You can check the city of Jaipur website for more information on bus routes in Jaipur.
Another option is to get around by tuk-tuks. It can be cost-effective if you are in a group, but be sure to haggle as the drivers are opportunists when it comes to tourists.
Our favourite way to get around Jaipur is by using the Ola Taxi app. Similar to Uber, taxis are ordered directly through the app. Not only can you book single trips, but the app allows you to book out a time slot with your driver. So you could even book one for the entire day if you wanted, and we found it far cheaper than local transport companies.
Best Time to Visit Jaipur
Jaipur, like most of India, experiences extreme weather conditions. During the Summer (Mar-May), the heat is almost unbearable. While Monsoon (May-September) sees heavy rainfall, often derailing any sightseeing plans. With this in mind, the best time to visit Jaipur is during the Indian Winter (October-March) when the weather is perfect for vacationing. At this time of year, temperatures are cooler, and there is very rarely any rain. Although, keep in mind that Rajasthan is a desert state, and the midday heat can be relentless all year round.
Meeting Other Gay People in Jaipur
Being an LGBT+ traveller in any new place can be a daunting prospect, so we find it helps to connect with other LGBT+ people in the area. This way, you can share experiences, and perhaps they can answer any questions or concerns you might have.
We suggest using social media to locate other LGBT+ travellers or locals in Jaipur. You can use Facebook, for example, to find dedicated LGBT+ groups in your area. Similarly, navigating specific hashtags on Instagram, such as #lgbteventsindia or #gayjaipur can help you locate all things LGBT+ near you.
Similarly, dating apps can be a great way of connecting with like-minded people – and not necessarily for a hook-up. If you’re lucky, you could find yourself connecting with a local who can give you a full insider low down of the local area. The Delta App is India’s first-ever LGBT+ dating app. We always suggest using a secure VPN when using dating apps internationally, click here to sign up!
Staying Connected in Brighton
If, like us, you rely on the internet when you travel (let’s face it, who doesn’t anymore), we have the perfect solution. After coming home to too many hefty phone bills and buying countless international sim cards, we were desperate for an affordable solution. Thankfully, we discovered TravelWifi. TravelWifi’s portable pocket wifi allows us to quickly and securely connect when we need it the most. Click the link for more information on coverage, packages, and the latest offers.
Well, that concludes Gay in: Jaipur – A 2020 LGBT+ Travel Guide. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here!
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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