“Since 1890, a century and more now, ‘Dhobi Ghat’, which is Mumbai’s biggest open air laundromat (laundry system) with more than 200 to 400 Dhobi’s (Workers) works to wash as about 700 washing pans, clean and iron, serving many garment dealers and other clients all around Mumbai is a 100 Crore business annually. Still operating and is one of the major tourist attractions of Mumbai, Revamp and major changes are planned to be happened to make it clean, hygienic and slum free of total 15 acres location with Dhobi Ghat using 2.5 acres place.. “
This Hindi word ‘Dhobi’ refers to a person in washing business, and ‘Ghat’ refers to a location, in this case a place where clothes are washed. Otherwise, This Hindi word ‘Ghat’ refers to a Hilly location (Usually a residential & Tourist location) like
This Open Laundromat is Mumbai’s biggest and is located adjacent to Mahalaxmi Railway Station on Western Railway Route (See Railway Network) in South of Mumbai city. To help you better with the location, Dhobi Ghat is located at just a stone throw distance of Famous Mahalaxmi Racecourse known for Derby Horse Races.
Its a 38 Acres of huge open laundry since more then Half century now and is a known Heritage structure listed on major Mumbai Darshan tourism list. This old clothes washing concept played a vital role for surrounding locations and has limited the business to few selected fixed clients due to Washing Machines now available at every other home.
Major tourists buses stop by the railway station bridge connecting race course in west and east to get pictures of both iconic structures adjacent to each other. So for those who are not visiting Dhobi Ghat via Buses, Mahalaxmi Railway Station is the best land mark location.
How Open Laundromat at Mahalaxmi Operates
Who are Dhobi Ghat Customers / Clients ?
Dhobi Ghat started in 1890, And for many years their major customers were Railways and Hospitals from all around Mumbai. But with time, new mechanism and washing technology has emerged. All required big machinery are already owned by giants like railways and hospitals as in-house laundry services for time and money saving.
Still as of day, 731 manual washing stones get bitten around 500 time at a go on any given day with total about 6500 to 7000 people working towards completing all tasks related like washing, drying, clean, Iron press and delivery etc. Dhobi ghat still makes 100 Crores yearly with all this efforts in, No reasons for it not been listed as important part of Mumbai attractions.
As of day customers from various sectors get their clothes and other garments washed here at reasonable price. Private laundry around city charges anything between Rs.35 to Rs.50 to their customers and get the same clothes to be washed here at Dhobi ghat at minimal charges of Rs.4 to Rs.5 per cloth. Dhobi ghat still have range of customer from various industries and sectors like Wedding decorators, Events, Garment Dealers, Clubs, Small and Big Caterers, Many Hotels and more from South Mumbai till Far North Suburban and Beyond locations connecting Thane and Palghar district.
One of the biggest and regular clients of Dhobi ghat are whole sale garment dealers from areas like Andheri, Kurla, Dadar, Chembur, Santacruz, Ghatkopar etc. Many of these dealers deals in second hand garments like Saree and Shirts etc. They send these second hand garments in bulk here at Ghat for best of kind results to look new after washing, cleaning etc, Which actually gets sold as new at various locations of Mumbai and beyond. Saree is one those major bulks sent by all those dealers. At Dhobi ghat every dhobi can take up a task of about 350 to 400 saree washing and cleaning per day.
Few old local laundry workers who use to stay near Dhobi ghat and got migrated because of developments etc. still prefers to wash and laundry their customers clothings here. From Far areas like Govandi etc. they regularly bring in the clothes and get it back at their place where locally only ironing is done.
More about Dhobi Ghat
Dhobi Ghat shows the age old style of clothes washing in Mumbai on those semi rectangular and square looking cement slats with small tunnels for washed water to flow and drain away with Soap and other chemical used. Few of those slats are made up of cement and black hard rocks since decades.
They fill those square washing chambers with detergent soap water. Also, adjacent to it are those huge blue drums (containers) for storing stain remover chemical based water effective enough to remove most and every type of stains daily. Surrounded to those laundry slats are those hanging ropes which looks like manually created spider nets connected to bamboo sticks floating in air which is the best possible way to accommodate more clothes for after wash dry. Dhobi’s of all age workers are seen wearing safety plastic bags around hands and legs to stay away from odd effects of strong chemicals used for washing. Due to the working conditions and habits, those Dhobi’s area also seen working just wearing Undergarments for better stretch of muscles and cope with hard working conditions required from washing to drying process of commercially used clothes.
This old style washing open air laundry has also accepted some changes with time and demands, Lately new hi-tech washing machines and dryers are also used for making the washing and drying process work faster with comparatively lesser efforts. Each washer family inside Dhobi Ghat has fixed numbers of customers and no one interrupts or try to competes poke in each others ethical family business of washing.
Few Dhobi’s are specialized in washing and few in drying which automatically takes care of work and labour division and copes with competition problems totally. When Mumbai was Called Bombay, this decades old ghat started and State government gave 38 acres of land to few selected family of washers to serve big hospitals, hotels and other businesses in city with washing and drying services on daily basis. Every Dhobi family gives Rs.400 as kind of monthly rent to government who gave this the land and also provided with free water supply inside this ghat area.
A systematic process is followed for washing and drying taking care of clothes color and separating those white coloured clothes from others which can leak colours and spoil other. Then the process of drying and hanging in a special way on Bamboo ropes takes following final wraps after dry and reaching perfectly to respective clients like hospitals, garment factories and other business in vicinity without making any mistakes.
Best Time To Visit Dhobi Ghat
You can visits this place any time as it is an open laundromat, But before sunset. There is no entry fees or ticket charges as you actually view this attraction from a distance place and are not allowed to get inside.
Other Attraction Places to See Around
If you are visiting Dhobi Ghat, you should also visit Mahalaxmi Race course as detailed above. Next nearest place is Haji Ali Dargah which is actully inside sea area. Hindi holy place of Worship Mahalaxmi temple adjacent to Dargah and at some half hour travel distance are places like Girgaum Chowpatty, The newly renovated is Taraporewala Aquarium and few more.