It is reported that almost one lakh clothes are washed here on a daily basis!
Dhobi Ghat, naam to suna hoga?
From Amitabh Bachchan's Don to Sanjay Dutt's Munnabhai MBBS and Aamir Khan's Dhobi Ghat, the backdrop of the shanty town of Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat has featured in numerous films of the Hindi cinema industry. Even if you don't have a chair full of clothes that need to be washed, a tour of this iconic place is a must, whenever in the locale. Until then, we are sharing a list of 5 facts about Mumbai's Dhobi Ghat that you ought to know!
A Heritage Site
Touted as the world's largest open-air laundry, Mumbai's Dhobi Ghat was constructed during the British Raj around 1890. Contributing to the image and identity of the city with an elaborate history of approximately 140 years, the area where Dhobi Ghat is located has been declared a Grade-IIB Heritage Site by the government.
Washing almost 400 sarees a day
The garment dealers, from different locales of Mumbai, bring their second-hand bought clothes to be washed and scrubbed in bulk at the Dhobi Ghat. Charging economical rates, the washermen clean a load of almost 400 sarees a day, among other textile materials, which are then sold as brand new products in the market.
Creating world records
Prominently displayed at the entrance of the Dhobi Ghat, is a plaque from the Guinness World Records which states- "The most clothes that people hand-washed simultaneously at a single location were 496. This feat was achieved by the Dhobi Kalyan and Audyogik Vikas Coop Society on March 8, 2011."
Behind the scenes of this industry
Almost 7000 washermen clock around 20 hours every day as they flog, scrub, dye and bleach clothes in concrete wash pens, dry them on ropes and neatly fold them after ironing. Washing over one lakh clothes every day, this huge industry of washermen is famed for producing an annual turnover of 100 crores!
A world of contrasts
Dhobi Ghat is home to washermen settled down in almost 5000 shanties, providing commercial laundry services across the town- from Colaba to Virar. The client list probably also includes the 5-star hotels that line the road along the waterfront near this Ghat!
Despite the wealthier washermen switching to washing machines and modern displacement of manual labour, you can still see washermen here toiling at the concrete sinks of Dhobi Ghat. Plan a walking tour to this place to get an idea of what lies beyond the colourful scenes shown on the silver screen!