Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai

This morning I woke up early, eager to explore Mumbai and get my first taste of India. Waking up in my simple, cozy hotel room, I could have been anywhere in the world. It was hard to believe that I was actually in India. India has always been a future travel destination for me. You know, like… “when I’m ready for it” or “when I’m brave enough.” Well, ready or not, here I am.

Unsure of taxi culture in Mumbai, I asked the hotel security guard if he could help me arrange a driver for a few hours. Outside the hotel flagged a totally random taxi down, then walked away leaving me there to negotiate on my own. Be brave. The driver seemed nice enough with a big black toothed smile and relatively clean car (which I later discovered did not have air conditioning).  We settled on a time and ending point and I showed him a hand written list of a few places I wanted to visit. He smiled, said “yes,” and nodded his right to left… which sure looked like no to me.

With some confusion, we eventually made it to Dhobi Ghat, the largest open air laundromat in Mumbai. Families work each day washing laundry from hospitals and hotels in Mumbai. Watching people do so much laundry by hand felt like taking a step back in time. I could have watched them work all day. Carrying bags of laundry, washing with soap and water in concrete basins, and hanging the pieces to dry on long wires was fascinating. The colors were beautiful and it was without doubt a photographer’s dream.

All of my photos were taken from the bridge along Mahalaxmi Railway station. The bridge was lined with foreigners snapping birds-eye view pictures. Most hopped out of a taxi, took a few shots, jumped back in and carried on (just like me). I’ve been told that you can walk down the steps, follow the road, and pay a small fee (200 rupees) at the entrance of Dhobi Ghat for a tour inside. Unfortunately, my driver had no interest in waiting for me to go in and seemed genuinely confused about why I even wanted to come here in the first place! Next time I’m in Mumbai, I’ll definitely take the time to go inside.

Dhobi Ghat is definitely worth checking out. Don’t forget your camera!

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