Dharavi Reality Tour

I went for the Dharavi Tour on Saturday with Dhruti and her colleague – The new trend in  reality tours compared to the usual Bombay Darshan Tours.

The Dharavi Tour has become quite a hit after Lonely Planet recommended it and also thanks to Slumdog Millionaire.

I was asked by the Tour Guide Sunil, why as an Indian and Bombayite, I was interested  in the Tour,  I had a few reasons :-

a) I wanted to check the 665 million US$ Small Scale Industry.

b) I wanted to check if the tour guys were portraying Bombay and India correctly or we they marketing poverty and exploiting the foreigners.

c) My Dad had lived in Dharavi for a while when he came to Bombay 40 years ago.

Something I liked and disliked was that Photography was not allowed, I was carrying my Camera and couldn’t click, but then I respect the tour guides view that Photography would lead to Poverty Marketing and all other kinds of exploitation and issues.

Industries and Stuff  shown on the Dharavi Tour

  • Plastic Recycling Unit
  • Kumbharwada : Clay pots & Pottery units
  • Embroidery and Tailoring Unit.
  • Bakery
  • Leather Tanning
  • Pappad making
  • Soap making Unit
  • NGO School

The tour is safe and people are very friendly, but one needs to watch out for narrow alleys, pipes and wires hitting your head, open gutters and at times shit.

The sad part is that even though people of all religions work together they live separately in their own Ghetto’s (Muslim area, Tamil area, Kumbharwada – Gujarati Area, Maharashtrian area etc), can’t blame them the ghosts of ’92 riots might be still haunting them.

Dharavi Tour
Dharavi Tour Group

Sunil - dharavi tour guide

Sunil – The Guide

Dharavi Post Cards
Dharavi Post Cards for Sale

The tour is conducted by Reality Tours, they charge 400 bucks per person, a part of the proceeds go to the NGO School they manage.

Website : http://www.realitytoursandtravel.com/slumtours.html

Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharavi

2 Comments so far

  1. Lubna (unregistered) on January 17th, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    Hi Satish,
    I am glad that there is no photography permitted, though perhaps there could be a mid-way with photography permitted only in the workshops (pottery, papad making etc). I am so glad that the funds from this tour are pumped back to help the community.

  2. HowardG (unregistered) on January 27th, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

    Satish –

    I’m sure you don’t mean “bucks” = dollar$ – as in US dollars, AU dollars or others. Your rcomment is enthusiastic, yet misleading. No doubt you meant Rs400!

    The website offers tours at 2.5 hours = Rs400 (US$10), 4.5 hours = Rs800 and other prices.

    A terrific offer! Regards – HowardG

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