Visit Dharavi and see why it is the 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 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 2 hour and 30 minute 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.
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.
2.5 hour walking tour
9:15am or 1.45pm from Churchgate Station
10am or 2.30pm from Mahim Station
Firstly, special thanks to Javed for the best tour we’ve ever been on.
We were contemplating going on this tour as we were unsure if it could be a little pretentious and imposing for those living in the slum having spectators walking around, but it couldn’t be more opposite.
The tour company is well maintained; 80% of the profits are put towards the education scheme & there’s a strict no camera policy.
Javed was super friendly & informative, answering all of our questions and not rushing the tour even though we went a little over time.
Our eyes were opened on the perception of Dharavi slum, it’s a city within a city that generates a whole lot of money.
At the end of the tour at the reception, there’s a gift shop where you can purchase lovely re-usable bags made out of recycled saris (300rps) – profits go toward education.
The Dharavi slum tour is a must-do in Mumbai, revealing the heartbeat of the city and granting tourists access they otherwise would not have had. I would recommend booking the option that includes Dhobi Ghat, a fascinating addition to the regular tour.
The guide was knowledgeable, the tour was respectful toward the residents of Dharavi, and the company is well-known for their charitable contributions to the Dharavi community. Highly recommended.
An essential part of a visit to India. The most thought provoking thing I have ever seen. Compassionately done with 80% of profits going to the slum. A real eye opener!