Dharavi slums are in Mumbai, India, and they occupy up to 535 acres of land. Made really popular by the Slumdog Millionaire movie, Dharavi has been around since 1882. It is said to be among the largest city slums in Asia and one that supports the livelihoods of numerous small-scale traders. The best way to visit the area is to buy a properly organized and reasonably priced Dharavi slum tour. While the first thought you might get is that the place is too unsafe to visit, Dharavi is surprisingly one of the busiest and friendly slums in the world.
Things you should know
This neighborhood gives travelers a chance to discover the history of the area and to gain complete understanding of the city of Mumbai. Usually, the money collected from Dharavi tours is sent back to the same community and you will then be supporting someone who is less-privileged when you purchase a trip. Finally, this is a walking tour and you obviously need to wear well-fitting shoes with a strong sole.
Getting to Dharavi
Situated in the northern suburbs of the city amid the Western and Central Railways lines, the slum is easier to access by car and foot. As a visitor, you might feel overwhelmed by the big population that is ever using the narrow footpaths and the muddle of streets. That’s why you need to go there with someone who is familiar with the whole slum. Otherwise you could quickly get lost. The slum is visited all through the year, but the winter season (November to February) is the most comfortable travel period.
Perhaps the first thing you will be attracted to is the mammoth population that works and lives in the slum. This area hosts more than one million people who live in harmony with each other and contribute up to six hundred and sixty-five million US dollars to the economy each year. They are welcoming to outsiders who come to explore their businesses and cultures. So the walking slum tour will entail a trek around the industrial area of Dharavi.
This is a sheer educational trip that will give insights into what the dwellers do for a living. There are several small-scale industries here: pottery, soap-making, bakeries, papad-making and recycling factories among others. The recycling factories produce a variety of items that are sold inside and outside the slum. Virtually any type of plastic, aluminum and other kinds of metals is gathered from all over Mumbai and then brought to the slum’s recycling units. The materials are then trampled or melted, cleaned and resold as new. This ensures that nothing goes to waste.
Moreover, Dharavi is home to diverse cultures and this is evidenced by the presence of different worship centers. So, by the time you complete your Dharavi slum Mumbai tour, you will have learned a thing or two about the locals’ way of life and business acumen. This will be a perfect moment to purchase some souvenirs that are solely made by hands, including leather crafts, fabric, and pottery. As well as the business area, you will stroll around to see the residential areas of the slum.