Airing out the dirty laundry

The Dhobi ghat is a massive open air laundry where hundreds of Dhobi (the traditional washermen) live and work. We heard that it was pretty easy to check out, so we got off the train at Mahalaxmi station to see what we could find.  We didn’t have to look far!

The Dhobi Ghat
Sorted by colors

Men with rolled up pant legs stand in knee deep water whipping dirty clothes against a stone. Some hung around and watched their clothes spin in industrial washing machines that looked like cement mixers. Inside the small houses piles and piles of clothes sat in color sorted piles. The few women I saw sat inside ironing and sorting clothes.

Hanging out to dry in the rain
New fangled washing machine

If you’re staying in Mumbai and your hotel offers to do your laundry chances are good that they’re washed at the Dhobi Ghat. Your pants will return freshly washed and pressed and you’d have no idea that you clothes went on a little expedition to the laundry slum.

Like GTL without the G & the T
Washing saris by hand

2 thoughts on “Airing out the dirty laundry

  1. Love these pics. Reminds me so much of travelling in India in 1991 and how *thorough* these guys are hammering the dirt out. My shirts were beaten to nothingness by a succession of Dhobis in 8 weeks LOL. The buttons got thinner and thinner LOL

    So strange to get on the MRT at Dhobi Ghaut in Singapore and to imagine that’s where the washing used to be done one time. Now there’s not even a river there … maybe it’s been reclaimed or flows underground beneath SMU

    1. Vinnie told me about the Dhobi Ghat in Singa, I had no idea!  I loved watching these guys work but unfortunately didn’t use their services.  We continue to wash our clothes in the shower. Sigh….

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