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What will I see in Dharavi?
We focus on the small scale industries in Dharavi, such as recycling, pottery, embroidery, bakeries, soap factories, leather tanning, papad (poppadom) making and many others, most of which take place in very small spaces. We also pass by the residential areas, where you really get a feel of how the people live and the sense of community that exists in the area. We also visit one of the community centres run by our sister organisation and NGO Reality Gives. Here you will learn more about the programs that are supported by the profits from the tour.
Is Dharavi safe?
Although we cannot take responsibility should anything happen, we believe that the places that we visit are very safe. There are a lot of people in Dharavi (one million approximately in an area of 0.7 square miles) and there is a strong police presence in the area. Dharavi is generally full of hard-working, honest people, although for security purposes we ask you not to take valuables with you on the tour. In the small alleys you have to be careful of low hanging roofs, open drains, and occasionally exposed electric wires. Also, in some of the factories that we visit there are fumes that can be hazardous. Since April 2014 we have been tracking whether our guests felt safe throughout the tour on our post-tour questionnaire; 99.7% of our guests felt completely safe throughout the tour.
Is Dharavi hygienic?
With the very high population density and the limited infrastructure and sanitation facilities, there are areas which are quite dirty and smelly. We ask you to wear covered shoes.
What clothing should be worn on the tour?
We recommend that you wear covered shoes as some areas can be dirty, especially during the monsoon months from June to mid September. We ask ladies to dress modestly which means no sleeveless shirts, short shorts, or low tops.
Why can we not bring cameras on the Dharavi tours?
We have a strict no camera policy in order to respect the privacy of the local residents. Dharavi has received a lot of attention from the media and the residents are very wary of being exploited. The policy may be considered strict but our relationship with the Dharavi community has been built over a number of years based on mutual respect. We do not wish for even the occasional photo as it could be incorrectly perceived as our starting to permit general photography on our tours. We can, however, send you a link to Dharavi photos which can be downloaded. There is also the opportunity to buy postcards and photos at the end of the tour, proceeds from which go to the community projects in the area.
Can I buy anything on the tour?
We don't sell or ask you to buy any products made by the residents of Dharavi on the tour. We don't want you to feel obliged to buy anything. If there is anything in particular that you find interesting on the tour, then by all means you can speak to the guide and he can help you buy it. There is also the opportunity to buy postcards and other merchandise at the end of the tour, proceeds from which go to community projects in the area.
Is it appropriate to bring small children on the tour?
There are health hazards highlighted above which parents of children need to be aware of. Otherwise we see no problem with bringing children of any age on the tour. Indians are very welcoming and receptive to young people.
I don't like going on organised tours. Is it possible to visit Dharavi on my own?
Yes it is possible to visit Dharavi on your own, and in our opinion it is safe to do so. However you will not know the best places to go, the area is like a maze and you will not gain the same insight as with one of our guides.
I want to do a Dharavi tour and another tour on the same day. Is this advisable?
Absolutely! Our tour timings were decided with this in mind. The Market Tour fits nicely with our Dharavi Tour and Family Lunch and the evening Street Food Tour fits perfectly with an afternoon Dharavi Tour.
I hear that Dharavi is going to be redeveloped. Will I still be able to see the area?
The redevelopment plan has been stalled many times and now it looks like the original plan has been scrapped and a new one is being suggested. Due to the value of the land in Dharavi now, some say that redevelopment in some form is inevitable but there are still a lot of issues to be resolved and the developers have still not been announced. It should be possible to visit Dharavi even while the development (which would take several years) takes place.
The Dharavi Tour with Car Transport seems very long. Why is this?
For the "with car transfer" option, the total time is approximately 4.5 hours. This includes transport to Dharavi and back from our office in Colaba, or to and from your hotel. For people staying in Colaba, if you were to catch the train/taxi to Dharavi from Colaba, the transport time would be approximately 50 mins to an hour each way, so the total time to do the Dharavi Tour and the Dharavi Tour with Car Transfer is approximately the same.
How is the private tour with car transfer different from the shared version?
On the shared version, you will need to meet outside our office in Colaba at the stipulated time. On the private tour with car transfer, other visitors will not come on the tour with you and we will come to your hotel or residence to pick you up and drop you back. The tour is more flexible as well to what you want to see. Since we pass by areas of interest between Colaba and Dharavi, to get the most out of the private tour, it is best to start from Colaba, Fort or Marine Drive. For people staying in other parts of Mumbai who wish to do the private tour with transport (and hence be picked up from their hotel) we can advise on what will and will not be included in the tour depending on the location of your hotel.
I want to do a slum and sightseeing tour in a group with other people. Is this possible?
Unfortunately, the slum and sightseeing tour is a private tour only.
Where is Dharavi?
Dharavi is situated between Mahim and Sion - two areas at the northern tip of South Mumbai, just before the suburbs commence (Bandra and Kurla). It is sandwiched between the Western and Central Railway lines. It is about 10km south of the International Airport and 18km north of Colaba.
I am staying in Colaba. Where should I meet for the short tour?
The easiest place to meet the guide is at Churchgate station- this is a 15-20 minute walk from Colaba.
I am staying near the airport/Juhu/Bandra. Should I do the Dharavi Tour with Car Transport?
As you are staying north of Dharavi, it would make the most sense to do the regular Dharavi Tour and meet us directly at Mahim Station. If you would like car transport then a private tour with car transport would be a good option. This way we could pick you up directly at your hotel. But please note that only the Dharavi part of the trip would be covered (ie. you would not see the red-light area and open-air laundry). There would also be an additional charge to cover the extra distance that our car would have to come. If you wish to do a private tour with car transport and also see the other parts of the tour such as the red-light area and the open-air laundry, then contact us and we will try to arrange something. If you would still like to do the shared Dharavi Tour with Car Transport, you will need to be at our office at 8.30am. It will take about 80 minutes/80 minutes/60 minutes to reach by taxi so it would be an early start! If you still wish to go, then you might con
I am meeting you at Dharavi. How long does it take to get there?
FROM COLABA: ? By train: it is a 15-20 minute walk to Churchgate station and then it takes approximately 45 minutes to buy the ticket and catch a "slow train" to Dharavi (Mahim Junction). ? By taxi: By taxi it takes about 50 minutes to an hour (cost approximately Rs 200) FROM AIRPORT AREA: ? By train: it is a 15-20 minute walk to Churchgate station and then it takes approximately 45 minutes to buy the ticket and catch a "slow train" to Dharavi (Mahim Junction). ? By taxi: it takes about 35 minutes in the afternoon, and 50 minutes in the morning. Cost: approximately Rs 100. (note: by auto-rickshaw not possible) FROM JUHU: ? By train: you need to go to Vile Parle or Santa Cruz Station and catch a "slow train" to Mahim Junction. Total time approx 30 mins. ? By taxi: it takes about 35 minutes in the afternoon, and 50 minutes in the morning. Cost: approximately Rs 100 (note: by auto-rickshaw not possible)
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