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 of Dharavi. People from all over India have come to live in Dharavi, making it a microcosm of India. This diversity is apparent in the 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 introduction to Dharavi aims to give visitors a much more nuanced understanding of life and work in Mumbai slums.
Family Lunch: Towards the end of the tour, we will walk to a nearby family home for a vegetarian meal. Not only will you get additional insight into Dharavi, but you’ll provide a local family with some extra income. Get comfortable and feast the local way, sitting on the floor and eating with your hands.
Up for more? Lunch will end with the perfect amount of time to make it to the start of our South Mumbai Market Tour.
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.
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.
After the tour, enjoy a vegetarian lunch in a local family’s home.
Churchgate Station or Mahim Station
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)
Ends where we eat lunch near 90ft road. The nearest intersection is 60 feet and 90 feet road. Your guide will help you find the best way to get where you’re going next.
3.5 hour including lunch
9:45am from Churchgate Station
10:30am from Mahim Station
Our guide Chetan told us that he’d grown up in Dharavi (the main slum area in Mumbai) and we have to say his knowledge of the area, the history and possibly the future of it, the people and his expertise in navigating the alleyways made him a perfect guide.
Another point, the company are located in the slum itself and use 80% of the tour profits to help fund a education project in the slum so your booking helps residents directly.
We were booked in for the lunch as well and have to say it was truly delicious.
Truly an eye opening tour, tempered with some very interesting insights from a former resident who now works as a guide for the company.
My goodness, what a fantastic experience. We had the humble pleasure of being shown round the unique community of Dharavi by the amazing Javed. Let me tell you if you want to book this tour, you want to ask for him! His local knowledge and love of Mumbai, and in particular the Dharavi slums just radiated throughout the tour.
The tour itself is incredibly respectful, and I feel honoured to have been allowed access to Dharavi and its wonderful people. Everyone was smiling, children stopped to say hello. The work they do within that community is incredible, from the plastic recycling (which I worry about their health doing!!!) to the leather making. This is a community of hard workers, and togetherness. It was interesting to hear that there is a low crime rate because people watch out for each other. The rest of the world could do with learning a thing or two from the Dharavi community!! I do not want to spoil it for you but the history behind this place is just eye-opening!
We had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the business too, what a lovely guy, all of them were full of smiles and the stories they can tell you about how they put 80% of their profits back into community causes such as education is just inspiring.
As if it wasn’t amazing enough navigating the small walkways filled with people and animals we then were hosted lunch by the most amazing woman, who we called mum. She made us three dishes, along with poppadoms and I tell you now I have never tasted such good food in all my life! Mum was a wonderful hostess despite not speaking any English, I wish we could have spent more time getting to know her.Please pass on our sincerest thanks, it was an honour to be her guests.
Thank you again for showing me and my mum Dharavi/Mumbai in its glory yesterday. I am hoping to book another tour with you this week.
This was the best value tour we’ve done in the 4 weeks we’ve had in India. Excellent tour:informative, interesting, eye opening, fun and safe. Changed our understanding of slum life. Simran, our guide was friendly, helpful, open, a great communicator and a lovely. We were 59 and 61 yo and despite wonky knees we managed! We had a beautiful lunch with a local family. Take your children: it will help them to understand how privileged they are! Thoroughly recommend this tour.
What a amazing tour , our guide Tabby was the best , He was attentive, knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour. There was absolutely no pressure to buy from the business. Lovely to see the real side of the lives of the Dharavi people so happy in there environment. Recommend the family lunch was beautiful food in very hygienic environment.
We had Nilesh as our guide for a private tour of Dharavi and lunch with a local family. Nilesh was really informative, friendly and willing to answer any questions. Before we did the slum tour we where questioning whether it was morally right doing one. After a lot of research we choose to do the tour with reality tours based on how they give back to the Dharvai. We went expecting the slum to be full of thieves, people not wanting to work. But our perspective changed on how working class and self sufficient the people were and working towards a better future. It has given me a greater appreciation to how lucky we are here in Australia. We had the lunch with a local family and it was one of the best meals we had in India.