While in Mumbai, you will be tempted to take a street food tour which the city is famous for. But when you search the web for ‘top things to do in Mumbai,’ you’ll find a search result as ‘Dharavi slum tour’. We’re sure this will perplex you, as Mumbai is known for its delicious foods, Bollywood, British architecture, and the Arabian Sea.
But there is a different side to Mumbai city, which is the Dharavi slums. A place where you’d witness community togetherness, flourishing small-scale industries, and simple dreams in the eyes of the people. Well, this should be enough for you to take a Dharavi slum tour with Magical Mumbai tours.
Why only with Magical Mumbai Tours?
For two simple reasons,, we do not conduct a trip to ‘pity’ the people of Dharavi for two simple reasons: and second, we give back 20% of our earnings to the community.
The Dharavi Slum Tour
You’ll meet your English-speaking tour guide at your place of stay along with a chauffeur-driven vehicle. Before you take the Dharavi slum tour in Mumbai, you need to follow these 4 rules:
Be respectful towards the people living there.
Do not react to bad smells and the surroundings.
Wear modest clothes and carry essentials like sunscreen, water, and a cap
No clicking pictures without permission.
At first sight, you will be surprised to see the small and bare rooms that churn out USD 1 billion worth of business annually, and the products made in the slum are sold globally.
Talking about the million dollar business, let’s introduce you to the industries of Dharavi.
Industries of Dharavi slums
Here in Dharavi, you’ll find in one ‘factory’ or ‘room’, people scavenging the waste heap to pick plastic and metal items. In the next room, you’ll find plastic and metal segregated and piled up for someone’s job to send it to a nearby ‘factory’ where melting and recycling is done.
In the next room, you’ll find a person hammering out the dents on old aluminum cans and selling them as new to different companies. In the next room, you’ll see someone working on a furnace melting aluminum and creating blocks to sell them.
You’ll also see people dyeing clothes to the exact matches of the swatches, making vegan soap bars, and kumbhar(potters) making clay pots and clay items.
Your final stop in the industries will be the leather industries of Dharavi. Interestingly, Dharavi is famous for its leather industries. It is home to the largest leather market globally, with 5000 business entities and hundreds of in-house factories for production. You will find everything leather, from shoes, belts, jackets, bags at these unique leather workshops.
We’re sure, you’re gonna ask us who are the people employed in these and where do they come from?
To answer that, let’s get you acquainted with the history of Dharavi.
History of Dharavi slums
Dharavi has a long history that goes back to the pre-colonial era of India. The Koli community settled in Parel and earned a livelihood out of fishing. When the swamps of Bombay (present day Mumbai) reclaimed creeks dried up in the 1800’s and the Koli’s moved to Dharavi.
Only around 1884 in the British era did the ‘Dharavi slum’ come into being as the Britishers set up factories to encourage migration from rural places to urban Mumbai. And ever since then, Dharavi has been a diverse settlement. Potters from Saurashtra (Gujarat), tanners from Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and embroidery workers from Uttar Pradesh all moved to Dharavi for livelihood.
With the migration of people from different cities, Dharavi has become its own small city in Mumbai. It has schools, hospitals and places of worship for people of different faiths. Over the years in these cramped spaces, Dharavi has seen decreased school drop-out rates and improved healthcare access because of the hospitals and clinics set up around the slum.
With all the information of Dharavi that you have now, does it inspire you to take a Dharavi private tour?
Watching an Oscar-winning winning movie or reading about the Dharavi slums will not give you the true picture of the slum. To experience the everyday life of the people living in Dharavi, you should book a Dharavi slum group tour with us. If you’re in it for real exchanges with the local people, book a tour with us for a slightly different yet memorable tour.