Wandering Through Bombay–3: Dhobi Ghat

Posted on: August 4, 2013 Posted by: Kunal Comments: 0

Wandering Through Bombay–3: Dhobi Ghat

Just off the Mahalaxmi train station is situated Bombay’s largest open air laundry. Called Dhobi Ghat, also made popular by the critically acclaimed (and one of my favorite) movie by the same name. Every day dirty linen from all across the city is brought here to be washed by hundreds of washer men (Dhobis) .
View of Dhobi Ghat from the bridge adjoining Mahalaxmi station.

There are hundreds of concrete washing cubicles spread across 23 acres. Clothes are soaked, beaten clean, washed and hung nearby to dry. As I visited on a Sunday morning, there wasn’t much commotion at the place.

A typical washing cubicle with washing apparatus, the stone structure in the corner is to beat the clothes clean by flogging on it.

A dhobi in action.

Now as Dhobi Ghat gets large volume of dirty laundry from across the city, there has to be some sort of arrangement to segregate out clothes and deliver it to the correct owner post washing. This is done by a tiny marking on each cloth, as one can see in the second picture above.

I love the contrast.

While there were some friendly Dhobis who themselves came to me to talk and answer my questions about the place, there were few uninterested faces too. I mean seriously, a Dhobi here must be seeing hundreds of tourists like me each week gawking at him and his work, taking photographs as if he was a monkey at the zoo. He’s bound to be irritated.

Ending the post with the picture of this little girl who was selling this photo album containing pictures of Bombay’s landmarks, and boy she conversed in English way better than Narendra Modi does. She asked me for a picture and I gleefully obliged.

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