mahalaxmi dhobi ghat – mumbai

the dobhi ghat in mumbai has always fascinated me.  how can so much laundry be washed, dried and ironed in one small space without losing a single piece? when i was in mumbai two years ago i was able to photograph the hanging lines inside the dhobi ghat.  here is the link:

this time, i was able to find a guide who would take me down into the ghat  to observe how they work.  my guide told me that they wash over 100,000 pieces a day.  each concrete trough is rented from the government.  the owner will then hire several dhobis (washermen) to do the work.  some of the troughs even have huge industrial washers which are able to wash in one hour what used to take a whole day to do. the dhobi ghat is a registered organization, called the dhobi kalyan and audyogik vikas co-op society, and it even appears in the guinness book of records. in march 2011, it achieved the world record for the largest number of people (496) simultaneously hand-washing clothes at a single location. MUMBAI-1055MUMBAI-1057this enterprising man is using the spokes from a broken umbrella to repair sandals. MUMBAI-1056 clotheslines are twisted together so there is no need for clothespins. MUMBAI-1060MUMBAI-1058MUMBAI-1059MUMBAI-1064MUMBAI-1061MUMBAI-1065MUMBAI-1066-1MUMBAI-1068MUMBAI-1063 some of the ironing is still done using coal-filled irons. it was so dark down in the tunnels that i could barely see.  i used a high iso on my camera in an attempt to capture the scene. MUMBAI-1069MUMBAI-1070MUMBAI-1074this lady is making tea MUMBAI-1071MUMBAI-1054MUMBAI-1075


3 thoughts on “mahalaxmi dhobi ghat – mumbai

  1. Very impressive – thank you so much for sharing Deborah! The photos are crystal clear which makes the viewer feel we are there in person. Of course, my first reaction is (after seeing the colour of the wash water)….. are the clothes really ‘clean’? How could they be – with water like that… Sounds like a wonderfully interesting trip you had…
    Look forward to more…!


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