Jan 7, 2008

Dhobi Wallahs Mumbai (Bombay) India

Laundry can be anything but mundane in India. At Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai it is theater. Thousands of men work in what must be the world’s largest open air laundromat. There are no machines run on electricity here. Water and soap fills concrete troughs where clothing and linens are washed and beaten clean by hand. After, everything is hung to dry in color coded order and ironed.

Known as Dhobi Wallahs (laundry men) this army of men keeps the threads of the residents of the world’s most densely populated city clean. The intake is huge but items, which are picked up and dropped off, are rarely lost. Nobody is sure how they manage this, a skill passed down for generations. The Dhobi Wallahs of India could likely be the only people on earth qualified to solve the mystery of the socks that go missing.

The best time to observe and photograph the Dhobi Wallahs of Mumbai is the morning.


bleeding espresso said...

OK is it wrong that what's really sticking with me here is...MEN doing all this laundry! Yeah!

Truly fascinating; thanks for sharing :)

Robin said...

I think I'm going to kiss my washer and dryer this afternoon and give thanks that I don't have to wash my family's clothes by hand...

Of course a dhobi wallah to fold and press would be amiss at all.

Fascinating post. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

Bleeding Espresso, Too funny. They do an excellent job as well.

Robin, Agreed. Although I must admit I will be dropping a good 10 pounds of laundry off at a place just down the block that will be ready for pick up in a few hours.