Home > offbeat travels, solo travel > Tramping around Shadow Land in Maximum City

Tramping around Shadow Land in Maximum City

Among the many misconceptions that people have about India and the city of Mumbai in particular, Dharavi is easily the most significant one. Children study it in general knowledge books as the largest slum in Asia, but that moniker goes a long way in shaping our perceptions of the place. ‘Slum’ actually isn’t the definitive word there. The activity that goes on there is probably more than what a lot of Mumbai can boast of.

The Shadow Land in the Maximum City will actually disappoint all those who venture in expecting abject poverty and rampaging crime, a la Slumdog Millionaire.

For starters, Dharavi happens to be the go-to place for cheap housing and leather products. The leather industry alone is believed to be worth over 100 million US dollars. Pottery, papad-making, embroidery and soap-making are just a few of the other small-scale industries that give Dharavi a turnover exceeding 600 million US dollars.

These thriving businesses (which export to countries around the globe) are often conducted in hovels with sheets of blue tarpaulin acting as walls. Makes one wonder if image consultancy really helps to propel a business forward.

Dharavi abounds with friendly locals who are probably accustomed to the interest and curiosity that the rest of the world occasionally regards them with. At the same time, you will not find a feeble old man living in a rat-infested hovel who will spill the beans on his cruel life for you to spin off into the next bestseller. The people there resent being put in a glass case, and expect you to respect their privacy and dignity.

It is an interesting place to visit if you want an insight into low-profile, successful living.  It is a great place to visit if you’d like to see just how hard people can work. Most of all, if you want to explore a side of Mumbai that you didn’t know existed, schedule a trip to Dharavi today.


– As Seen By Richa Gupta. 

Boarding school, maddeningly fun as it is, doesn’t leave you with as much time to go traipsing around the country as you’d like. For me, the joy in travelling lies in the novelty of the place, the people you get to meet, and the wonderful connection that you feel you have established with a place after you have experienced it. From time to time, I also try to string some words into a sentence about how I felt about the place.

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