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Life in the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

Life in the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4561 W: 17 N: 10840] (44098)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2017-12-25
Categories: Daily Life, Architecture
Exposure: 30 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2018-02-03 4:09
Viewed: 825
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Mumbai - Life in the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat

Some members seemed to like my previous pictures of the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat.
So here are the final three. Next time something different.

This dhobi ghat was mentioned in my guide book (10 lines!). I believe today it is mentioned in all guidebooks on Mumbai. There are lots of local travel agencies that have included the visit of a dhoby ghat in their programme. Not necessarily the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat.
But this one is the oldest and the largest of Mumbai. I’ve also seen a much smaller one but I’d recommend to visit this one.

When I was there I saw only one other tourist, a young woman from Germany who was on a world trip. So this dhoby ghat is certainy not overrun by visitors. But don’t expect to be the first one the workers will see.

From my hotel I had taken a taxi (taxis are very inexpensive in India) to the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum that is housed in a beautiful Renaissance revival style building. After my visit I had a look on the map and estimated that Mahalaxmi could be reached on foot within 20 to 25 minutes. I do like walking and certainly to explore places where I’ve never been before.

Very soon I found that I was the only foreigner on the street and in a neighbourhood that certainly could not be described as prosperous. But everyone was very friendly and pointed me in the right direction.
I wondered how I would be able to find the dhobi ghat. Would it be visible from the street? Or would I have to ask a dozen times?
But it was the dhobi ghat that found me. At a certain point a man came out of a very narrow side street (almost hidden by the displayed merchandise from shops) and he recognized me as a potential visitor. This was not really difficult I believe :)

He proposed to lead me around in the dhobi ghat. When I asked how much this would cost, he said ‘the standard amount that the community asks’ and mentioned a sum. That amount sounded very reasonable. I tried to bargain a bit but was not too successful. At that moment I really wondered if the money would actually go to the community.

The man led me around, up and down steep stairs and ladders to different roofs on which the laundry hung to dry and where there were views. We entered different workspaces where he gave a brief explanation and everywhere he knew the people. In all these places I was welcome.

At first I hesitated to take pictures but my ‘guide’ encouraged me to do so.
Some workers smiled or attempted to pose. Most of them saw my presence but just went on with their activities.
The fact that I was there in the company of one of them allowed me that I could look around everywhere and take pictures. I have no idea what it would have been if I had refused his offer. I doubt that I could enter anywhere. In that labyrinth I would not have found most workplaces and viewpoints either.

I think I did get value for my money. Since nobody else asked for money I had the impression that they all knew that it was a paid visit that benefited some kind of communal cash box.

So not a big adventure but an interesting and enjoyable experience.

If you find this note interesting, take a look at the workshop. Two daily life-pictures there.

maloutim, ChrisJ, Silvio1953, ikeharel, PiotrF, papagolf21, holmertz, Fis2, abmdsudi, pajaran, macjake, jean113 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Paul, great contrast between poor houses on FG and fantastic skyscrapers in BG, excellent clarity, splendid light and wonderful colors very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Bonjour Paul,

On ne peut pas mieux exprimer le contraste entre les riches et les pauvres. Ceux qui habitent à l'avant plan rêvent d'habiter ces gratte ciels et ceux qui habitent les gratte ciel veulent voir disparaître ces bidons villes.



  • Great 
  • Tue Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9757 W: 57 N: 16694] (61732)
  • [2018-02-03 7:52]

Hallo Paul,
Nogmaals een prachtig stadsgezicht met twee heel verschillende kanten van de stad. Er is zoveel te zien, vooral in de voorgrond en de kleuren zijn allemaal erg aantrekkelijk in dit zachte licht, dat ook mooie, warme tinten aan de hoogbouw meegeeft.

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  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10773 W: 146 N: 27120] (129847)
  • [2018-02-03 8:03]

Hello Paul, You note reminds me my adventure in Cairo. I was in Egypt with the organized tour (it was long time ago, in 1993) and one day I left the group and went alone to see other parts of the town. I was interested in the markets and Al-Azhar and Ibn Tulum mosques that were not included in the program. When I was walking the young guy offered that he would be my guide. after a while I accepted. He went with me everywhere where I wanted, was a good guide, very careful - it was very hot so he went with me to the shops where I was offered tea and water. I do not know how I would go alone there - in sight there were no Western people and no women. We visited some other mosques, many workshops, it was very different than what was with the tour. In the end I paid him a small amount and I was really glad. Then I had to use metro to find my hotel, I was a bit nervous if I will find it but it was OK. So even going with the tour I always did something on my own and I liked these moment the most.
Could it be dangerous? I didn't think about that.

Fascinating pictures, probably earlier they didn't write about it in guide books.

Kind regrads MAlgo

Ciao Paul
ho avuto tempo solo ora per guardare le tue foto e leggere le tue note, il luogo è indubbiamente interessante e ti è stato permesso di fare molte foto.
Questa foto, che ci mostra l'enorme contraddizione tra le baracche e i grattacieli, è molto bella e lascia riflettere, ma non credo ci siano soluzioni a questi problemi, o meglio, ci sono, ma sono cambiamenti molto lunghi.
Belle queste condivisioni e ottime le note di accompagnamento.
Buona domenica

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  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4272 W: 2 N: 7350] (35812)
  • [2018-02-03 14:29]

Hello Paul,
Interesting photos from daily life in the workshop.
Very good capture of this place with nice composition and beautiful colours.
Thank you for informative note.
Fine presentation

Bonjour, cher Paul,
Cette autre vue sur la ville exprime bien la différence qu'il peut exister entre certains quartiers.
Et le comble, c'est que c'est réel et de nos jours !
Une image reportage très bien faite.

Salut Paul,
Intéressante vue avec cecontraste d'architecture entre les tours en fond et cet aspect de bidonville en premier plan, c'est pris sous un bon angle et d'un bon POV.

Hello Paul,
Three more fine photos from the dhobi ghat, the main one underscoring the huge contrasts found in the mega city. The photos are well taken and very colourful but to me, with a long "career" as a traveller, the note is even more interesting. I have had similar experiences several times and appreciate such a detailed description of the circumstances behind the photos.
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10365 W: 161 N: 17205] (131115)
  • [2018-02-04 4:53]

Witaj Paul!
A very interesting view.
Curious contrast new and old.
Very impressive picture.
Good frame and colors.
Well done.
Nice sunday.

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12324 W: 126 N: 22230] (113175)
  • [2018-02-04 5:25]

Hi Paul,another magnificent pic showing us the contrasts of this incredible and busy city,excellent capture as usual,and 2 interesting post of the daily life well done as usual. Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hello, Paul!

Here you show a view of the city with a lot of contrast between the buildings in the background and the poor houses, typical not only of India, we can also see it here in the big cities of Latin America, so it is a familiar view for me. Very good light and colors! Beautiful job!

Hi Paul
What a great colourful picture, outstanding complexity of people working in such small spaces and achieving so little. One wonders about the economics of it?

A scene I think, most western tourists shy away or never saw but only saw the clean bed sheets & pillow cases in their hotel rooms!! Excellent reportage of the slums in Bollywood City, it has the two extremes hum? Tx to your comprehensive notes
Hats off to you Paul :))
Best regards

Another multi-colors POV above the slams and out to the far side modern buildings of Mumbai, Paul.
Contrast of daily-life and contrast of architecture's.
Distinct picture with the abundance of vivid colors.
Good afternoon,

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  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 14518 W: 0 N: 16410] (176325)
  • [2018-02-04 7:17]


quelle iamge et constraste ces bodon ville en premier plan et ces building blanc en fond qui ressortent ce plat e tle couleur sur ce maiswon basse avec des personnages ce ling ces toit quelle vue touchante.
Bravo et amitié

Dobro vece.
Lep pogled, interesantan i dobar tekst ...
Dobar rad sa lepim fotografijama u radionici, lepo pokazano deo grada, dobra perspektiva i kontrast, lepe boje.
Veliki kontrast malih kuca i moderne arhitekture, bogatstva i siromastva.
Zelim vam prijatno vece, sve najbolje.

Good evening.
Nice view, interesting and good text ...
Good work with beautiful photographs in the workshop, beautifully shown part of the city, good perspective and contrast, nice colors.
Great contrast of small houses and modern architecture, wealth and poverty.
I wish you a pleasant evening, all the best.

  • Great 
  • Cricri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 16204 W: 159 N: 28248] (148600)
  • [2018-02-04 11:12]

Bonjour Paul
Grand contraste d'habitation , entre les riches et les pauvres, triste vie pour ces personnes vivant dans la misère, trois intéressante présentations, difficile d'imaginer et pourtant bien réelle !!
Belle soirée

Hello Paul,

It has been fun sharing your tour of Mumbai.
The huge ghat has been quite a revelation.
Your three photographs extend our understanding enormously.
The main post is a general overview but more intimate details come from the w/s.
I had to smile at the man having a bath in one of the stone bats. Fortunately none of the other workers decided to tread on him to ensure his cleanliness! 😀

Kind regards,
Bev 😊

Hi Paul
excellent note, very much worth the time and effort to read it. and its something I can certainly relate to, as i've had similar experiences. Paying money is always a questionable thing to do bc you just dont' know if the money is going to him or to the 'church'. it could be a scam or not, who knows. and sometimes the person may get very angry if you don't pay..that happened to me in India once.

wonderful note, wonderful experience, the photo is secondary haha...but its a fine photo too :)

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