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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Dhobi Ghats redux

Looking down at the dhobi ghatsAs part of our “Day About Mumbai,” our second stop (after the flower market) was the Dhobi Ghat area. It is famous as the place to have laundry done, and we got an eyeful. Dave had been here before a few years back, but this was the first time for the whole family. From above, it looks crazy enough, but we shelled out the big bucks to go on a walking tour.

The purple dye matches his clothes! Drying shirts in the middle of green curtains for mosques Hand washing in chemical water
Men (for the most part) work all day washing, dyeing, and drying clothes out in the open, plunging themselves into water of dubious chemical composition. Almost everything is done by hand, although we did see some electric washers, hand operated dryers, and even a wood-fired heating tank!
Taking a break from duties Washing the whites Standing in that water all day long...
While it was still fairly early in the day (before 10), the heat was building, but these guys didn’t seem to take much notice. They kept about their labors, squeezing out what profit they could. According to the ‘guide’ we had, the individual stalls (and corresponding water) rent for 300 rupees per month (about $6) and are often kept in a family for generations
Keeping an eye on the tourists Arc of water among a rainbow of clothes!
All they are is a concrete enclosure with a slab for slapping and walls for hanging clothes on. Each piece of clothing has a special symbol written or sewn into it, to identify the delivery vehicle and proper owner – a great piece of organization for a crew that is probably primarily illiterate.
Clean clothes ready to hang up Finished product drying
And of course, the final product was usually hung up in colorful lines across the rooftops. We were shown which areas were for clothes getting ready for export, which were from the major hotels, and which were from smaller institutions. While we were there, business was slow but steady, and it was cool to walk through without it being too much of a hassle. The dhobi ghats are a Mumbai institution, and the stop gave us another idea of the goings on of the Maximum City.

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