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Dharavi in Mumbai also acclaimed as one of Asia’s largest slum, in fact this place is actually a 5-star slum and is quite legendary. Do you know there are around 20 million people living in the Mumbai city? Another surprising fact to add is that out of the 20 million people around 65% people live in the slums. Let’s go through the Asia Largest Slum today and find out how this little city within the city breathes.

Dharavi, Mumbai: A Really Special Place

Mumbai slum photoPhoto by ToGa Wanderings

Slum this word doesn’t sound really great isn’t it? Well it doesn’t really give a good impression but Dharavi is very special. It would be an eye-opener for those who think bad about slums, people living in slums and the kind of work they do to earn their living is truly inspiring. To feel the true essence of Dharavi you need to take a walk around this extremely densely populated slum. Dharavi is just now about dark and narrow lanes / backstreets, along with the view of the trash lying by the roadside and the open sewages and also the vivid fragrances in the air but much more than that. This place has many small-scale industries located around, not wonder one can hear the sounds of the machineries almost all the time. Other thing which will surely catch your attention is the laundry space near the gushing water, many women can be seen washing their clothes here, to add further you would hear the loud cheering voices of the children playing all around.

What Makes Dharavi An Interesting Place?

Mumbai slum photoPhoto by streetwrk.com


1. People Tied In One Strong Bond

Dharavi is all about togetherness, yes it’s one big family which consist of vivid communities. Yes, people from different communities live together in one bond, be it Hindus, Muslims, Gujarati’s or the South Indians all are tied in one bond. Around 60% of the families living here have been here for more than 60+ years.

2. Highly Committed and Ambitious People

We talk about work commitments and ambitions in life. If you really want to see what being truly committed and hard-working really means, then visit Dharavi. People here are extremely hard-working, sincere and committed when it comes to work. The residents here are very ambitious in life. Many people among us think that the locals who live in the slums are dissatisfied and live out of no options, but this is totally a wrong concept.

3. Average Per Day Wage

Any guess what would be the average income of the people here? Well it’s something between $ 1-2 USD per day.

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4. Recycling And Leather Industry

The recycling and leather industry are two things which make Dharavi quite popular. Do you know each and every process followed is done totally manually? In the present era of hi-tech technology, Dharavi stands really strong but on the opposite direction.

5. Shocking Transformation Of Waste

We all are aware of how waste is treated in the cities, but you would be stunned to see the way Dharavi treats the waste. They transform the waste into something which is unusual and unbelievable. Hats off to the people here who work so damn hard.

6. The White House

This is one of the most popular spot of Dharavi. If you every get lost in the narrow lanes of Asia’s largest slum, just name this point and anyone will drop you here. Well I am sure you are curios of what this place actually is, but you need to see it to calm your curiosity really down.

The Two Prominent Areas Of Dharavi

Asia’s Largest Slum, Dharavi is divided into two main parts, the Commercial \ Industrial Area and the Residential Area.

Mumbai slum photoPhoto by 陈霆, Ting Chen, Wing

1. Residential Area

Dharavi is made of people from all over India, some of them have migrated from other rural regions and some are the locals from the Maharashtra state. Well as a slum this place lacks in basic infrastructure, like roads, toilets and public conveniences. The housing areas here is split according to different religions, like the Islamic people live in one area and the Hindus in a different area. This slum also has a number of temples, churches and mosque. The most prominent thing about the residential area is that it is too small and over-crowded. On an average, there are some 8 people staying in one tiny room. And when it comes to toilets there is just 1 for every 1,450 people.

Mumbai slum photoPhoto by gruntzooki

2. Industrial Area

To sum up the industrial area of Dharavi in words then it is crowded, chaotic, dirty and smelly. But one interesting fact about the industrial area is that around 15,000 single room factories are located in this slum. Each and every phase involved in the process is well-divided into different sections. The space is so well planned that every inch is very well utilised. The people working in this industrial area mostly comprises men workers. Recycling Plastic, Kumbharwada (Pottery), Garment and Aluminium industries are the most common business done at Dharavi. People of Dharavi are masters in the art of recycling waste and transforming it into something just unbelievable.

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People At Dharavi: Few Interesting Things about Their Lifestyle

Mumbai slum photoPhoto by ToGa Wanderings

Maximum number of people living in this slum are migrants from different part of the country. They all live together in this slum city but in a very disorganised way. If you ever get to see the conditions in which they live, you would actually be shocked. These poor people have to stay in tiny rooms which is mostly dirty. One single room is home to 10 people who live a hectic life. As I said earlier there are very less public toilets, this is one reason people are forced to use the alleys for their daily calls. People are permitted to make a one-storey house only, however people construct 2 storey homes with an aluminium roof. This act tends to convince the municipal authorities that it’s just for a temporary requirement.

It would be a very hard try to convince you that living in this slum is not at all bad for the people already living here. But trust me its 100% true, the local people of Dharavi don’t differentiate as they are quite unfamiliar with the outside world.

Mumbai slum photoPhoto by nevil zaveri (thank you for 10million+ views 🙂

Well we all are taught to be happy in whatever we have, but you would be shocked to see these people have nothing but still they are happy and satisfied. The residents of Dharavi hardly know what’s going on in the big bad world outside. But Dharavi is their little home, offering them little space and enough happiness.

So in case you live in Mumbai, and feel pity for those living in Dharavi, maybe you should re-think. People living here don’t take tension like we do, they are free from self-sufficient but we are not. Our desires keep increasing, but they choose to appreciate everything they have. Life is not about owning just the material things, like costly cars, big houses, mobile phones, computers and tablets, but much more than that. Thank God every moment as you are privilege to own all this, but what about the people living in Dharavi? Do they need your sympathy or empathy?

Featured Photo by markhillary


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Dharavi, Mumbai : One Of The Asia’s Largest Slum

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