Dhobi Ghat – The place where Mumbai’s Laundry gets cleaned.
The Dhobi Ghat is where Mumbaiker’s laundry is soaked, slapped, spun, and pressed in this centralized open-air hub spread across 10 acres at Mahalaxmi. Over 700 washing spots (ghats) are leased individually from the municipality and to make the most effective use of the work starts well before sunrise. Clothes are soaked in this multitude of concrete pens then beaten clean against a stone platform at one end.
Some items are spun dry while others are hung out in the Mumbai sunshine and pressing is done by either coal burning or electric powered irons. Close to three-quarters of a million items from the far reaches of the mega-city are laundered here daily – from hotel linen to handkerchiefs – and are packed and returned to their owners via a coded marking system made in indelible ink on small scraps of cotton and tied to each item. These processes have been honed over the 162-year history of the ghats, which were originally constructed to service British viceroys and officers.
It’s a fascinating spectacle, looking down on row upon row of open-air concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging stone, while Mumbai’s dhobis (around 200 dhobi families work together here) relentlessly pound the dirt from the city’s garments in a timeless tradition. Known as the world’s largest outdoor laundry, the municipal Dhobi Ghat in Mahalaxmi is where Mumbai’s traditional washerfolk — or dhobis — provide a wonderful service, collecting dirty laundry, washing it, and returning it neatly pressed, all for a very small fee. Stubborn stains are removed by soaking garments in a boiling vat of caustic soda; drying takes place on long, brightly colored lines; and heavy wood-burning irons are used for pressing. At the very least, it’s a great photo opportunity, though most locals think it rather amusing that their everyday work arouses such curiosity.
HOW TO REACH Dhobi Ghat
It is located next to the Mahalaxmi railway station on the Western Railways. It can be easily seen from the flyover bridge of Mahalaxmi station. If you visit the place beware of people asking for an entry fee of 200 to 400 Rs. Entry to the area is absolutely free.
Want to go on other one-day trips visit: Treks near Mumbai
Want to watch amazing travel videos: Travel Videos