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The state government has now given a go ahead for redeveloping the entire Dharavi as a single project and floating one global tender for the entire project. According to industry experts, this project will be a big opportunity not only for the slum dwellers but also help urban planners, human rights activists and the state government to transform the face of Mumbai city altogether.

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However, Dharavi is not an area of contention and confusion on the basis of costs alone. The biggest question is of land ownership and relocation of its existing inhabitants. In terms of land ownership, almost one-fifth of the land here is privately-owned. In terms of rehabilitating the existing occupants, one needs to keep in mind that as many as 60, families currently live in Dharavi.

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International Business World News. Find this comment offensive? My friend and I got really excited once we reached the block-printing workshop. They were making export quality fabrics -- and due to overwhelming demand, it was possible to buy them! Salman called the "boss man" over. Unlike many Indian shopkeepers, he knew not to pull out too many pieces, which would overwhelm and confuse us. He also left us alone to decide what we wanted.

The tour progressed through other small-scale industries. Used tin drums were being renewed and repainted, leather was being processed, vessels were being spun on pottery wheels, small clay diyas were being shaped, and pappads were being rolled out next time you dine at a restaurant in Mumbai, it's likely that the pappad you eat would've been made in Dharavi.

Inside the Dharavi slums of Mumbai

While photography isn't allowed on the Dharavi tour, occasionally Salman gave us the opportunity to take pictures. It makes them proud that foreigners come and take an interest in what they do, and even buy what they make. As I was looking at the diyas , a giggling group of small girls came over to say hello and talk to us. She must've only been aged around six or seven, but already she was dreaming big. And, talking fluently in English. I asked Salman about education in Dharavi.

Parents are recognizing the importance of education and learning English. There's also great unity in the slum. For example, the potters use scraps of cloth from the textile industries as fuel for their kilns. No doubt, it's the distinctive sense of community that helps make Dharavi a cheerful place. Salman took us through the narrow lanes of one residential part of the slum -- lanes so narrow that I struggled to walk properly and had to crouch down to avoid hitting my head.


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There were exposed wires everywhere. But, it was clean, and huge drums of fresh drinking water stood at the entrance to people's homes. Groups of housewives sat around chatting to each other, while their children played. But what about the infamous slum Mafia? Salam laughed. They've become politicians so what they do is legal now. Too soon, the two hours of the tour were up. Everyone should go on a Dharavi tour and experience it for themselves. In my view, anyone who is reluctant to do so because they're worried about "poverty tourism" needs to examine their egos and false sense of superiority.

The people in Dharavi are not ashamed of how they live, nor are they miserable. They are friendly, welcoming, and dignified. Think of it this way. Most of us don't have the riches to afford a private jet and we often travel on public transport. Are we sad because we can't afford a private jet?

Sad because we don't have a chauffeur driven limousine? Sad because we don't live in a 12 bedroom mansion?

Dharavi masterplan | Projects | Foster + Partners

It's simply not part of our existence, our standard of living. In fact, we don't even know what we're missing. Likewise, the residents of Dharavi are not feeling depressed because they don't have the same standard of living as us. They're far too busy making the most of what they have, not dwelling on what they don't have. And, if you put aside notions of money and material wealth, they're actually richer than what we are because there's so much love and support among their community, they need never feel isolated, sad or lonely.

To be totally honest, I envied them for this. Salman chatted to us some more before departing. My boss, the tour company owner, told me that I'll only want something else after a while.


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  • Ain't that the truth! There are indeed important life lessons to be learned from visiting Dharavi. Tripsavvy uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using Tripsavvy, you accept our.

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    Share Pin Email. As Be the Local Tours and Travel state on their website:. In fact this tour actively breaks stereotypical depictions of slums. Reality Tours and Travel - Founded in to provide educational walking tours of Dharavi.

    Dharavi Slum

    Be The Local Tours and Travel - Started by Dharavi residents, this company works to support local students to study full time by training them and employing them as tour guides. This gives them income to fund their education and boosts their confidence by enabling them to meet people from all over the world. Mohammed's Dharavi Slum Tours - Mohammad Sadique, an enthusiastic and enterprising young Dharavi local, founded Inside Mumbai Tours after previously working in a call center and learning English.

    He has been able to fund his education with the money from his bespoke Dharavi tours, which are tailored to individual interests and personally led by him.

    In One Slum, Misery, Work, Politics and Hope

    Reality Tours and Travel - Two and a half hour Dharavi walking tours cover the recycling area, rooftop visit for a fantastic view, visit to a community center funded by the company's profits, papaddam making, and potters colony. Tours depart twice a day, at set times in the morning and afternoon, and cost rupees per person. It's possible to have lunch in a Dharavi family home after the morning tour cost 1, rupees per person including the tour.

    Tours can also be combined with sightseeing in Mumbai. More information.