Dhobi Ghats in Mumbai
A large part of these Dhobi Ghats is managed only by people rather than machineries and are considered to be as heirloom of Mumbai’s past.
History of Dhobi Ghat:
Dhobi Ghat was established on the Mahalaxmi ghat. This was initiated by an association of almost 50 washers about 140 years ago in the Victorian Era. This is the only place of the British time whose name is still the same and there is no change in the place.
The people here follow the authentic traditions of washing clothes using flogging stones, caustic soda, and water from the Mahalaxmi ghat. The washermen wash the clothes and then return it to the people by drying.
Interesting Facts about the place is Washerman used 721 stones that are of individuals or families. This is the only source of earning of the people here, and they live in chawls. There are almost 700 families that live here and have taken up this as their business. More than 50% of Mumbai’s population’s clothes are washed here and it is located in its heart “Mahalaxmi”.
As many generations are involved in the same profession and their style of doing the work is almost same. The clothes that are to be washed are initially soaked in the lukewarm water containing caustic soda and then they are physically beaten up to remove the dirt and stains. After their washing, they are dried up and opened which is followed by ironing.
These Dhobi Ghats create a lot of curiosity in the foreigners and become a part of their photography which is quite amusing for some local people. The world’s largest outdoor laundry, Mahalakmi Ghat is the place where outstanding service of laundry is provided by the Dhobis.
They are so famous that a movie named “Dhobi Ghat” was released in our Indian cinema two years back.