I had a chance on my tour to view the world-famous open air laundromat of Dhobi Ghat at Mumbai.
This world famous Dhobi Ghat is located right next to Mahalaxmi station of Mumbai where each day millions of clothes are being washed. It’s an open-air Laundromat where the washers (locally known as Dhobis) collect the clothes from different parts of Mumbai (hospitals, hotels, homes, etc.), wash them, dry them and press them in return of a very paltry fee.
This spectacular place contains open air pens with a rock each in them. This is what I saw- there was a basin full of soapy water/washing soda where they stand inside and rinse the clothes. Now comes the smashing part – they smash the clothes – splish! splash! on those gritty rocks to pull the dirt out of them!
Nearly 200 Dhobi families reside in this 1 square kilometre area and earn their daily bread. They collect clothes from different places early morning (point to note is ‘every morning’) and wash them. Dry them on a network of wires (in some places I saw big dryers) spread along the ghat and iron them in return for a very paltry fee.
This place serves as a great platform for street photography enthusiasts. The amazing thing which amused the visitors including me was the dedication they put in their jobs in return for peanuts! No wonder even a ‘Carorepati’ in Mumbai is dependent on people like them to get the business running and vice-versa.
How to reach there? Reaching there is not that tough as this ghat is located right next to the Mahalaxmi station. As they say that Mumbai local is the best way to travel around here, It surely won’t be problem if one boards a local train to reach this ‘human powered washing machine’ which washes kilograms of dirt off from the clothes starting at 0400 hrs every morning !