Mumbai being a unique city in more ways than one is common knowledge. The most attractive part of Mumbai is its infectious energy. The city is largely made up of immigrants and hence, the most important aspect of Mumbai is its people.
The citizens of this beautiful, chaotic melting pot have contributed to the many famous quirks of this city of dreams. One such quirky place, that at times gets neglected, is Dhobi Ghat.
Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is an open-air laundromat that's over 140 years old. What’s amazing is that nearly 500,000 clothes are washed here each day. It’s said that clothes from across the city end up at Dhobi Ghat, to be washed and ironed.
Most of these clothes come from the railways, hotels, hospitals, event management companies, catering companies, clubs, and restaurants, apart from residential areas.
Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai has a very robust system in place. A line of dhobis (washermen) from across the city will collect the clothes and get them to Dhobi Ghat. Every piece of cloth is marked well to ensure nothing ever gets mixed up or lost in the process. 7,000 washermen then wash, flog, scrub, dry, and iron these clothes. The washing takes place around designated washer pens made of concrete, followed by drying and ironing.
The hours here are long and grueling, to say the least. While a visit to Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is like watching a well-orchestrated symphony, it’s also much more than that. For starters, it provides an insight into the Dhobi community of Mumbai. 200 families living in poverty, thanklessly carrying on scraping the dirt of our clothes, with unquestionable dedication and incomparable efficiency. That’s just irrevocably exceptional.
Apart from washing, Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is also the place where clothes are bleached and dyed. Old sarees and shirts are repurposed into merchandise for the second-hand market.
Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is an intense experience but is also a lot of fun. While it’s particularly checked out by international travelers, it also adds a lot of value to Indian travelers and the local Mumbai citizens. After all, it holds a world record in the Guinness Book of World Records, for the location which has the most people hand-washing clothes at the same location.
Also read: Exploring Dadar's Flower Market.
Plan your visit to Dhobi Ghat in a way that you actually get an insight into their day, and witness as much of the process as possible. Start the day early to witness the dhobis washing clothes in the wash pen. Head down to the actual laundromat, where locals would be happy to oblige and take you on an informal tour of Dhobi Ghat.
What’s interesting is that the place is also home to 200 families. In the process, you’re likely to understand the various stages your prized shirt would go through before it makes its way to you, crisply ironed and ready for another use. Afternoons are usually a great time to capture pictures of clothes being put to dry.
While the experience is obviously great, it’s a visual delight for photographers. For the curious, you can literally walk into Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai during peak working hours and catch a glimpse into the world of the Dhobi community. Just the fact that you can experience this so easily is truly symbolic of Mumbai’s rugged hospitality.
Also read: Best Beachside Hotels And Resorts In Mumbai.
How Do I Get To Dhobi Ghat In Mumbai?
The easiest way to reach Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai is by taking a train to Mahalaxmi and the flyover to Saat Rasta. Dhobi Ghat is practically a stone’s throw away from the station.
What Is Dhobi Ghat In English?
Dhobi Ghat is a place where people of the Dhobi caste go to wash clothes.
Is Dhobi A Lower Caste?
Yes, Dhobi is a lower caste and the name is derived from the word ‘dhona’, which means ‘to wash’.
What Is A Dhobi Wallah?
Dhobi-wallah translates to ‘washerman’.
Is It Safe To Visit Dharavi?
It is safe to visit Dharavi but we highly recommend that you do so with a guide. You’re more than likely to get lost in the many, many lanes of Dharavi.
Is Mumbai Safe At Night?
Yes, Mumbai has the reputation of being safer than most cities at night. But all the same, you still need to exercise caution with regard to shady alleyways and unlit streets.
Is Mumbai Dirty?
Yes, Mumbai is considerably dirty. It’s mostly thanks to the city being overpopulated and a high level of poverty. That being said, it shouldn’t be a deterrent for you to visit the city.
Which Is The Richest Area In Mumbai?
Malabar Hill is the richest area in Mumbai. Some of the other affluent areas are Breach Candy, Colaba, Mahalaxmi, Lower Parel, and Powai.
How Can I Spend 3 Days In Mumbai?
Day 1 - Explore the major attractions and heritage structures of South Mumbai including the Gateway of India, CST Railway Station, Flora Fountain, and Khotachiwadi. Visit the Mahalaxmi Temple, Haji Ali Dargah, and spend the evening at Girgaum Chowpatty and indulge in the street food!
Day 2 - Take a ferry from Gateway of India to the Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site. After returning, you can go shopping at Colaba Causeway Explore the Chor Bazaar and if you get hungry, we highly recommend meat lovers to visit Mohammed Ali Road for the best non-veg food.
Day 3 - Set out to explore Bandra Promenade and go shopping at fashion street. You can also go to the suburban areas of Mumbai and visit the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the green lung of the city. If you’re up for it, rent a bicycle and pedal your way to the Kanheri Caves.
Can I Wear Shorts In Mumbai?
Yes, you can wear shorts in Mumbai. But keep in mind that you don’t want to stand out from the crowd very much. Also, avoid wearing shorts when visiting places of worship.