Dharavi, famously known as Asia’s largest slum area, is, surprisingly, an economic powerhouse in the middle of Mumbai, the city of dreams.
As an industrial center with countless small-scale industries, Dharavi is home to over 1 million people and is incredibly crowded with houses, shops, temples and mosques.
It has residents from all over the country and thus, it is also regarded as one of the most multicultural and diverse destinations you can find in Mumbai.
Why would a slum from India be so popular across the globe?
This can be attributed to the fact that this slum has an annual turnover of more than USD one Billion. Through a tour of the Dharavi slums in Mumbai, you can witness the numerous local industries and how the workers produce products without the help of expensive, sophisticated machines and still earn their livelihood.
One aspect that will surely surprise you is the happiness factor among the residents of Dharavi despite living in tiny homes.
Dharavi is located between the two main suburban railway lines; namely the Central Railway and Western Railway. To the west of the slum lie, Mahim and Bandra which are railway stations on the western side and to the east lie Sion which is the nearest station on the central line.
One of the lesser-known facts about Dharavi is that the oldest temple here was built in 1913 and the first mosque was constructed in 1887.
How to explore Dharavi slums?
The best approach to knowing the history, culture and lifestyle of the people living in Dharavi is by having an experienced and trained tour guide with you. We don’t recommend exploring this region without a guide due to the safety and privacy concerns of our tourists.
A walking tour of Dharavi is the most common activity to explore Asia’s largest slum area.
You can witness numerous local workers making firecrackers, leather tanning, pottery and other artistic endeavors.
It is imperative to explore the Dharavi recycling region. Metals and other old items are brought from different parts of the country to Dharavi for recycling purposes.
A rooftop view of the entire Dharavi slums shows how human lives survive and live happily in tiny hutments that stretch as far as you can see. This perspective is certain to have a significant impact on your life.
We also recommend visiting the community center in Dharavi where you get to see the incredibly talented people performing a dance, yoga, music, sports and other activities.
The Kumbbharwada neighbourhood is the oldest part of Dharavi being known to house livelihoods for more than 150 years.
Here you will witness the artisans creating various types of earthen pots that are then shipped to different parts of the country.
Best time to visit Dharavi.
It is better to go when everything is active if you want to get the whole picture of Dharavi’s workplace and cultural landscape. A highly recommended time to visit the Dharavi slums is between 9 am and 5 pm.
As climatic conditions are concerned, we advise tourists to avoid visiting Dharavi slums in monsoons since it is not a pleasant experience. During the monsoon season, Dharavi is particularly vulnerable to flooding because of the low-rise structures and poor drainage infrastructure.
Mumbai experiences a very hot and muggy summer. The ideal time of year to visit Dharavi is winter. Winter lasts from October to March.
If you wish to understand the nuances of work, trade and life in the largest slums of Asia, you can explore our various tour packages and our highly knowledgeable tour guide will be with you for the entire tour of the Dharavi slums.
This is one of the most active regions of Mumbai and a must-visit tourist destination.