>Travel Pictures


Dhobi Ghats

February 2009

After a scavenger hunt through Mumbai, our group of students returned back to Bandra via the Mahalaxmi area and stopped off to see the dhobi ghats
As we waited at a light, we saw the inevitable beggars (in this case, a eunuch and some street kids) working the taxis around the intersection. As a major economic hub as well as a tourist site, the laundry area is a center for all sorts of commercial trade.
The dhobi ghats are a giant collection of water troughs and wash basins which are rented out (in many cases to families which have passed down the right to use a certain area from generation to generation). Laundry from all over the city is transported here, where it is rubbed down in the soapy water, slapped against the concrete walls, hung to dry, and returned to the owners. Click on the image to get a larger view of the spectacle.

Water is thrown from the main channels into the specific wash area for each group.

Apparently the most efficient method of cleaning is the smack the laundry against the sides of the water troughs. 

Clothes are washed, hung up to dry, and folded up all in the same crowded area. All of the workers that we saw were men, but there are women who work there as well.

The whole area is a whirling, writhing mass of water and color, as each group works as quickly as possible to get the most laundry completed in the shortest amount of time.

As we left, we saw clothes drying in every conceivable corner, the colors complementing and matching the rooftops and mosque that look out over the ghats. We headed back to our suburb, contemplating the look at Mumbai life that's we'd been lucky enough to have seen.

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