Dharavi is the world’s largest slum, located in Mumbai, Maharashtra. With an incredibly high population density, this 520-acre settlement has given rise to many small-scale businesses that dot its landscape.
Within this bustling hive of activity, businesses have evolved into the very identities of the individuals who run them. A quintessential example is the vibrant community inhabiting the region known as Kumbharwada.
True to its name, ‘Kumbhar’ translates to ‘potter’ and ‘Wada’ signifying ‘colony,’ Kumbharwada spans 12 acres and is exclusively dedicated to the art of pottery. In this unique enclave, every inch of the settlement resonates with the rhythmic pulse of the pottery business, shaping its inhabitants’ livelihoods and cultural fabric.
Through this blog, we’ll introduce you to the intriguing world of Kumbharwada in Dharavi and explore the artistic legacy, vibrant community and history.
History Of Kumbharwada
Origins and Historical Significance
Kumbharwada’s rich history dates back to Mumbai’s early days. It all started with the art of pottery, an ancient tradition that found its home in the bustling city.
Kumbharwada is a nearly century-old settlement founded primarily by immigrants from Saurashtra (now Gujarat) who were skilled potters. These pioneers made Kumbharwada their home and seamlessly continued the generations-old tradition of pottery they brought with them.
Over the years, Dharavi’s Kumbharwada emerged as a hub of craftsmanship and creativity. Its significance lies in the intricate pottery it produces and in the narrative it contributes to Mumbai’s cultural heritage.
Artistry And Craftsmanship
Traditional Techniques at Play
Amid today’s busy world, the artisans in Kumbharwada of Dharavi stick to the traditional ways. They use old methods, making sure each piece they create has a touch of the past. Whether spinning a wheel or shaping things by hand, every step in making pottery shows how dedicated they are to keeping things authentic.
Explore the eco-conscious side of Kumbharwada’s artistry on the Dharavi Slum Tour. Many artisans adopt sustainable practices, using locally sourced materials and eco-friendly techniques, contributing to environmental preservation and community welfare.
Here’s a peek into their day-to-day routines and artistic endeavors:
The skilled people of Kumbharwada in Dharavi embark on a daily journey of creation, shaping thousands of clay artifacts that range from lamps and earthen pots to saucers, bowls, lanterns, and delicate flower vases.
As the festive seasons of Diwali and Navratri approach, the demand for their craftsmanship soars, with an astounding output of 2000-2500 items daily.
The intricate process begins with the artisans sourcing clay from various regions, including Virar, Mumbra, and beyond. With expertise honed through generations, they deftly manipulate the clay on the “chaak” or wheel, crafting each piece with precision and artistry.
Once they have the desired shape, the items bask in the sun’s warm rays to dry before the furnace’s crucial baking process.
Talking of the Kumbharwada, you would wonder why it became a tourist attraction.
Kumbharwada in Dharavi transformed into a tourist spot for several compelling reasons, rooted in its rich cultural heritage, community initiatives, and growing interest in authentic and immersive travel experiences. Here are the key factors that contributed to Kumbharwada’s emergence as a sought-after tourist destination:
Kumbharwada in Dharavi is full of cultural authenticity, preserving traditional pottery-making practices passed down through generations. The genuine nature of the craft and the community’s commitment to its heritage attracted tourists seeking an authentic and unfiltered cultural experience.
Unique Artistic Heritage:
The unique artistry of Kumbharwada’s pottery, characterized by intricate designs and vibrant colors, sets it apart. Tourists taking the Mumbai sightseeing tour were drawn to the opportunity to witness skilled artisans creating traditional pottery, providing a glimpse into a centuries-old craft.
Tourism presented economic opportunities for the residents of Kumbharwada. The community could generate income through guided tours, pottery sales, and other tourism-related activities by showcasing their skills and opening their doors to visitors.
Positive Media Exposure:
Positive media coverage, including features in travel documentaries, articles, and online platforms, brought attention to Kumbharwada. The media highlighted the community’s resilience, craftsmanship, and the unique atmosphere of the area, sparking curiosity among travelers.
Kumbharwada’s transformation into a tourist spot can be attributed to cultural richness, community efforts, positive exposure, economic incentives, and a changing landscape in global travel preferences.
At Magical Mumbai Tours, we offer guided Dharavi private tours and Dharavi group tours designed for those seeking an intimate and tailored experience. You will enjoy the undivided attention of your guide, allowing you to ask questions and delve deeper into the nuances of Kumbharwada.
Booking your Dharavi Tour with Magical Mumbai ensures a memorable and responsible exploration of Kumbharwada. Our experienced guides are knowledgeable about the history and traditions and deeply committed to promoting sustainable and respectful tourism practices.