Dharavi Tour & Cooking Experience
Dharavi is known to many as ‘one of the largest slums in Asia’. It is home to about one million inhabitants and has about 10,000 small scale businesses with an annual turnover of approximately US$ 665 million to US$ 1 billion.
We conduct this real-life educational tour with a strong urge to give visitors a unique and unadulterated experience of people’s daily life. We provide a tool through which our guests experience and develop an understanding of a wide range of business activities like recycling, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather tanning, papadum-making, pottery-making and many more.
What is Dharavi Tour & Cooking Experience?
The Dharavi Tour & Cooking Experience is a special trip in Mumbai, India. It lets people visit the Dharavi neighborhood, which is famous for its vibrant community and small businesses. During the tour, you can learn about the people who live there and their daily lives. Plus, you get to try your hand at cooking delicious Indian food with local cooks. It’s a great way to experience the rich culture of Mumbai, learn about the resilient people of Dharavi, and enjoy some tasty dishes all in one exciting adventure.
We will visit our community partners home, where the chef of the house will give us a memorable cooking experience. Experience a different side of Dharavi–through the delectable cuisine made in a resident’s very own kitchen. Learn about the spices used, source the ingredients directly from the local market and get hands-on with the food prep and cooking! Fresh vegetarian dishes such as daal chawal (lentils and rice), vegetable/ curries, and more can be whipped up. Moreover, dishes made will depend on the produce that is in season. Feel the communal energy of your chef and household members, who pitch in to help and provide feedback throughout the cooking process.
At the end of your cooking experience, you’ll get to enjoy a vegetarian meal together as a family would. Get comfortable and feast the local way, sitting on the floor and eating with your hands.
Notice: We have no photography policy in Dharavi to protect people’s privacy and to keep locals comfortable with visitors.
3.5 hours walking and cooking experience in Dharavi
9.30 am: Entrance of Third Wave Coffee
(Outside of Mahim Junction railways station west side)
Please note: Available spots are limited so please book now!
INR 1,800 per person
INR 7,000 for a private tour of up to 4 people.
6-7 people maximum in a group
(For large groups please get in touch)
English speaking guide
All travel expenses on the tour
Packaged drinking water
Metal and plastic come from all over the city to Dharavi to be recycled. See the entire recycling process from sorting to the finished plastic pellets
We will use one of the factory rooftop for a spectacular view.
We will walk across the residential area to get an understanding of the housing, lifestyle and spirit of the resident.
We will visit the leather factory to understand the process of leather making from the very first animal hids to final product.
A visit to a local school will give you an idea about the education system in Dharavi.
Dharavi produces about 3.5 tons of food each day for e.g. Khari (puff pastry), Papadoms, and other Indian Savories.
The Kumbharwada neighbourhood is more than 150 years old and is the oldest part of Dharavi. Artisans create various types of earthen pots that are shipped all over India
You will get an experience to buy fresh groceries, prepare lunch with a local family and have a feast with them.
Meeting point location
Meeting point: Our meeting point is the entry of Third Wave Coffee which is on the west side of Mahim Junction train station. It is easy to spot this location but if you still find any difficulty, you can ask somebody for the navigation or you can contact us.
End point: Dharavi Kumbharwada (your guide will help you get a cab or navigate you to the nearby train station).
There are a lot of people in Dharavi (one million approximately in an area of 0.7 square miles) and there is a strong police presence in the area. Dharavi is generally full of hard-working, honest people, although for security purposes we ask you not to take valuables with you on the tour. Although we cannot take responsibility, we believe that the places that we visit are very safe.
In the small alleys you have to be careful of low hanging roofs, open drains, and occasionally exposed electrical wires. Also, in some of the factories that we visit some fumes can be hazardous.
We focus on the small scale businesses in Dharavi, such as recycling, the making of clay pots, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather factory, papad (poppadom) making and many others, most of which take place in very small spaces. We also pass by the residential areas, where you get a feel of how the people live and the sense of community that exists in the area.
People from all over India and from all religions live in Dharavi, and you will see this diversity. On the tour, you will pass Hindu temples, mosques, churches in the area and when open we also visit a local school of Dharavi.
With the very high density of population and the limited infrastructure and sanitation facilities, there are areas which are quite dirty and smelly. We ask you to wear covered shoes.
We recommend that you wear covered shoes as some areas can be dirty, especially during the monsoon months from June to mid-September. We ask visitors to dress modestly which means no sleeveless shirts, short dresses, or low tops.
There are health hazards highlighted above which children need to be very aware of. Otherwise, we see no problem with bringing children of any age on the tour. Indians are very welcoming and receptive to young people.
We have a strict no-camera policy to respect the privacy of the residents. Dharavi has received a lot of attention from the media and the residents are very wary of being exploited. The policy may be considered strict but our relationship with the Dharavi community has been built over many years based on mutual respect. We do not wish for even the occasional photo as it could be incorrectly perceived as our starting to permit general photography on our tours. We can, however, send you a link to Dharavi photos which can be downloaded.
We don’t want you to feel obliged to buy anything. If there is anything in particular that you find interesting on the tour, then, by all means, you can speak to the guide and he can help you buy it.
Yes, it is possible to visit Dharavi on your own, and in our opinion, it is safe to do so. However you will not know the best places to go, the area is like a maze and you will not gain the same insight as with one of our guides.
Absolutely! Our tour timings were decided with this in mind. Have a look at the timings for the tours and let us know!
Yes, you have an option of booking a private tour in which your guide can customise the tour according to your requirements.
Generally, people are very busy with their work over there but you may find many occasions to speak to the locals. You also have an option of selecting Dharavi tour with family lunch or cooking experience. In which we visit a family and have food with them.