Dhobi Ghatt, worlds largest laundry area

Have you ever think that doing your daily laundry using the washing machine is such a hassle, well think again. In the heart of Mumbai, lies the Mahalakshmi Dhobi Ghatt, the world’s largest laundry area. It was said that there were more than 10,000 workers working here and they wash nearly 1,000,000 (1 million) pieces of clothing a day. The unique part was, most of the clothes are washed manually by hand.

a view from a bridge nearby

the washing cubicles

Arriving at the Dhobi Ghatt area about 11.30 am, we saw most of the laundry had already been put up to dry. However it was not really that late as there are still areas where washing of the cloths are still going on. As we walked down the stairs heading to the entrance, we were approached by this one guy who offers to bring us to tour around inside the area for a small fee. He told us the money was going to the workers association which obviously everybody could guess that it was far from true. However not wanting to miss a once in a lifetime experience to see how’s life inside the Dhobi Ghatt, we would still require somebody to bring us in thus we decided to pay him.

drying the clothes

As we went inside the area, we were greeted by the strong smell of soap while we walked through hundreds of workers eagerly doing their job. A guy was seen washing and scrubbing the clothes in an open air troughs or cubicle while on the other hand, another guy was trying to put the washed clothes into an old school dryer under the shed. On top of the roof, a few more guys were hanging up the washed clothes to let them dry under the sun.

the washing works

the dryer

Our ‘guide’ explains to us about the flow of works while guiding us around the area. He told us that last time everything was done manually but now at some areas there’s washing machine and dryer. The arrival of washing machines and dryers nowadays worries the workers as they fear that this will decrease the demand for workforce and make them jobless. Each machine being put inside the Dhobi Ghatt would take away about 8 to 10 workers job.

white clothes are boiled inside this first before being washed

I learned that there was a tagging system to track which clothing belongs to whom so that the cloths won’t get lost. The ‘guide’ told me that because the price here is much cheaper than other laundry shops in the city, many people send their clothes here. This includes normal houses, hotels, factory and restaurants around Mumbai send it here. Sometimes clothing exporters also sends their clothes to be pre-washed.

the workers having a break

bedsheets from hotels

I found out that what the guy say was quite true as I was walking out of the area and passed through a guy carrying  bed sheets which noticeably from a hotel to be washed there. Therefore for those planning to be in Mumbai, bear in mind that your clothes might also end up here if you send them for laundry works at your hotels.

4 Responses so far.

  1. AieSha says:

    jeles betul, banyak tempat dah pergi ye…

  2. AieSha says:

    bro, esok jom lepak ngan geng backpackers.


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