Visit Dharavi, take in the street art and see why it is heart of small-scale industry in Mumbai!
Known to many as ‘one of the largest slums in Asia’, we prefer to think of Dharavi as Mumbai’s beating heart. It houses about one million of Mumbai’s inhabitants and its industries have an annual turnover of approximately US$ 665 million.
Through our educational walking tours, visitors experience a wide range of these business activities: recycling, pottery-making, embroidery, bakery, soap factory, leather tanning, poppadom-making and many more.
We’ll also visit the residential areas and get a glimpse of street art in Dharavi. People from all over India have come to live in Dharavi, making it a microcosm of India. This diversity is apparent in the murals, temples, mosques, churches and pagodas that stand side by side.
Our three community centres that are funded through the profits from the tours are also located in the residential area. We will visit one of them and you will learn about the programs that our NGO, Reality Gives, offers the community.
Our 3 hour introduction to Dharavi aims to give visitors a much more nuanced understanding of life and work in Mumbai slums. You can also add a lunch with a local family after the morning tour. Not only will you get additional insight into Dharavi, but you’ll provide a local family with some extra income!
Have extra space in your suitcase? We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase for the projects supported by Reality Gives, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.
Metal and plastic comes from all over the world to Dharavi to be recycled. See the entire recycling process from sorting to the finished plastic pellets.
The tin hutments that house so many human lives stretch on as far as you can see. You will never forget this view!
Our Community Centre, supported by funds from the tour, provides education in English, computers and life skills to the teenagers and young adults of Dharavi. Other activities such as sports, dancing, and yoga are also hosted at our community centres.
Two tons of food is produced every day in Dharavi and a large part of that is popaddoms, the essential appetizer or side dish of many Indian meals. They are typically made by women in Dharavi in the residential areas.
The Kumbbharwada neighborhood 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.
This is your chance to explore the amazing works of street art hidden in an area of Dharavi. Moreover, this is the only part of the tour where you are allowed to take photos. Learn how street art has an impact on the local community, enhancing their sense of pride and empowerment.
Churchgate Station or Mahim Station
For a Colaba start, see our Dharavi Tour (Car Transfer).
There are four entrances to Churchgate Station, including two subways. The first photo shows the station as you approach from Colaba and where the entrance is. Once inside the station, go to the book stall about 30 metres before the platforms (as shown in the next two photos). Look for the sign saying “Wheeler.” (Photos: One, Two, Three)
We meet at the main entrance and ticket office on the West side of the station (photo 1). To check if you are in the right spot, verify that V-Jai Restaurant and Bakery is opposite and Cafe Coffee Day is diagonally opposite. (Photos: One, Two, Three)
Our Reception Centre in Dharavi which is near the intersection of 60 feet and 90 feet road.
3 hour walking tour
9:15am or 1.45pm from Churchgate Station
10am or 2.30pm from Mahim Station
I’ll start my saying that we were unsure if a tour of Dharavi was the right thing to do as we had heard many comments giving emphasis to how it was unfair on both the workers and residents in the area. However that aside we are so pleased that we made the right decision and completed the tour with a brilliant guide. Reality Tours have a policy that ensures that community projects are funded by the fees that we pay towards the tour and it is also very important to the Dharavi
Community that we see the time that they are investing in initiatives that they are working on to ensure a future for themselves and their families.
This tour allows you to see and experience several aspects of the working side followed by a relaxed walk through the residential side where you can interact with the locals should you wish to do so. It certainly gives you a better understanding of what life is like in this part of Mumbai.
As photos are not permitted We can not share any with you but would highly recommend taking the tour and you will retain the memories.
After a short break during which we were able to take a comfort break and have a chilled coke( inc) we then continued onto the Street Art Tour. Again it was good to experience another initiative that is going towards funding projects within the community. The artists are not always local artists many are international but they have to pay for the privilege to paint on the community buildings. As this is a relatively new project the landscape is changing all the time but once again the tour was worth it and we got some great photos. We’ll only share one as we wouldn’t want to spoil the tour for anyone considering it.
As for our tour guide Arjan he was very good. He is very informative and takes you right into the heart of the community inc a visit to a school, a view of Dhavari from the rooftops and an amazing walk through the potteries.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable full shoes as the ground can be a bit dirty and wet. Wear 3/4 or long sleeves to protect you from the sun and respect the wishes of the locals and finally makes sure you have a good amount of water.
Was lucky enough to spend my birthday in the lovely company of the smart and funny Diva on a Tour of Dharavi. My partner, our 6 year old daughter and myself were shown the industrys operating, given a real insight into the legal classifications of the different areas within Dharavi, the history of what Indians growing up in the slums have faced and challenges they face today in a growing and changing environment. Diva was a super star in her knowledge, the tour added so much value to our time in Mumbai. Our trip would have been a lesser experience had we not gone- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
My tour was everything I hoped it would be. Informative, interesting, fun! It’s exhausting in this heat but Naiynesh and the team made it comfortable for me. I opted for solo tour with car pickup at the hotel and it was worth the extra charge. I could not have navigated Mumbai on my own to get where I needed to go. Dharavi was fascinating and Naiynesh made sure I knew where to walk, duck, hop, step to avoid pitfalls. Street art was great and the team that came along made it even more special. I had such a good time that I booked the Market and Temples tour for the afternoon.
I did the slum and street art tour with Arjun and the street food tour with Swati. I really enjoyed both. The guides were friendly and informative and I felt this was a great way to get to know Mumbai a little better than just the main tourist attractions. Would reccomend to anyone.