The Longer Yard
There are rows of open-air concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging stone. Called the world's largest outdoor laundry, Dhobi Ghat is a very popular attraction among foreign tourists. The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present. It is located next to Mahalaxmi railway station on the Western railway’s Saat Rasta roundabout. It can be easily seen from the flyover bridge of Mahalaxmi station.The Dhobi Kalyan & Audhyogik Vikas Cooperative Society, the apex body that represents washermen, estimates the annual turnover of the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat at around Rs 100 crore. For 18 to 20 hours each day, over 7,000 people flog, scrub, dye and bleach clothes on concrete wash pens, dry them on ropes, neatly press them and transport the garments to different parts of the city. Over one lakh clothes are washed each day. Some of the wealthier dhobis have given up on manual cleaning and have now installed large mechanical washing and drying machines. The dhobis collect clothes from all corners of the city, from Colaba to Virar. Their biggest clients are neighbourhood laundries, garment dealers, wedding decorators and caterers, and mid-sized hotels and clubs. Dhobi Ghat garnered a Guinness Book of World Records entry under ‘most people hand-washing clothes at a single location’ in 2011. In 2013, World Records India and World Amazing Records honoured World Record Certificate to Dhobi Kalyan & Audhyogik Vikas Co – op. Society Ltd.
Dharavi has suffered from many epidemics and other disasters, including a widespread plague in 1896 which killed over half of the population of Mumbai. Though large sums of money have been borrowed by the Indian government in the guise of improving sanitation in Dharavi, none of these have materialized into any development on the ground.
A Dubai based firm - SecLink group has planned to redevelop the slum into a completely new area. On setting up of the SPV, the private firm will have to bring in an equity of Rs 400 crore, while the state government will invest another Rs 100 crore. The company planning to do it is also building infrastructure and affordable housing projects in Singapore and Dubai. Following the empowered committee’s nod, the senior state officials said that an MoU will soon be executed between the state government, and the Dharavi Redevelopment Project Authority (DRPA) and the company. With an almost estimated cost of over Rs 26,000 crore, the Dharavi makeover project is the biggest brownfield redevelopment project in India. To make the redevelopment more economically viable, the state government’s plan is involving transforming the region into a hub for commercial and business activity. It must be noted that Dharavi is barely away from the Bandra Kurla Complex, which is India’s richest business district, and one of the richest in Asia.
Slum Tours Mumbai:
ABOUT THE THE LONGER YARD:
A longer group or private tour through the heart of Dharavi
This tour is a half day experience, abolishing all preconceived notions of this large slum area in Mumbai. Dharavi is much more than a historic area of Mumbai's poverty. Dharavi's industries get an annual turnover of approximately US$665 million and this tour shows how most of that revenue is created, through a wide range of these activities: recycling, pottery-making, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather tanning, poppadom-making and many more. Most of these things are created innovatively, in very small spaces!
Before the visit to Dharavi slum by automobiles, the visitors will pass through other well known locations of notoriety such as Kamathipura (red light area) as well as famous tour spots like Dhobi Ghat (big open air laundry). The guide in charge gives a detailed description of all these spots. Another aspect that the visitors witness is the diversity in religion, custom and belief however a sense of unity is definitely experienced, even from an outsider's point of view. When passing through the residential spaces, you will most certainly feel the sense of community and spirit that exists in this slum area in Mumbai. The diversity is apparent in the temples, mosques and churches that stand side by side.
Group Tour: 1300 Rupees per person. You will be accompanied with up to four other travelers,
Private Tour: 6,000 Rupees.You can bring a maximum of five people on your private tour.
Operates every day
Duration: 4-5 hours
Morning Tour: 8:30 AM
Afternoon Tour: 2:00 PM
Morning Tour: Regal Cinema, Colaba
Afternoon Tour: Regal Cinema, Colaba
KAMATHIPURA (RED LIGHT AREA): An area well known but rarely talked about, the Kamathipura district is a land harbouring a torrid affair between man and his sexual desires. Prostitution out in the open, and families torn and broken, these lanes speak of stories with distorted realities and unfavourable outcomes.
DHOBI GHAT: See the Dhobiwallahs or human washing machines, scrubbing, washing and beating sheets and clothes from Mumbai's largest hospitals, hotels and garment industries at this busy open air laundry locality!
RECYCLING AREA: Everything old from plastics to metal come from all over to be recycled at Dharavi. See the recycling plants in which separation and melting of the wastes takes place.
BAKERY: Khari Biscuits hot and fresh from the source, available in every kind and served on a platter!
POPADDOM MAKING: Watch the Dharavi women making poppadoms, the essential appetizer before every Indian meal. It is done by drying them on wooden baskets, turned upside-down.
RESIDENTIAL HOUSES: Bask in the creativity of the humble dwellings of the incredible people of Dharavi.
KUMBHARWADA POTTERY COLONY: Watch artisans create all types of pots out of unfired, sundried clay and even learn a thing or two.