Plight of Potters in Kumbharwada – a pottery village in Dharavi (Asia’s largest Slum)

Kumbharwada, famous for its pottery, is located in Dharavi. Here we take a look at the history of the area, how they make their living and some of the issues it’s facing today.

While most Mumbaikars (those who live in Mumbai) are aware of the fact that Dharavi is the biggest slums in Asia, they know that several scenes of the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was shot in Dharavi, not many are aware that the place is also famous for its Kumbhar community (those involved in pottery making).

Kumbharwada, the pottery village, is about 15 minutes walk from Sion station (you can walk it up but of its too hot get into a cab).

The village was built by migrants from Gujarat. The moment you reach that place, you can see fire pots of all shapes and sizes, small cups for diya candles, larger water pots, ornamental vases line up the footpath.

The potters from Gujarat brought their family trade with them, and even today get most of the raw material required for their craft, from Gujarat.

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These migrants when they arrived in Mumbai, first settled in the Southern tip of the city. But the smoke from their kilns was a nuisance for many residents. Over time, the migrants moved to Dharavi, which was then almost a no-man’s land, situated between two railway lines and dotted with a few villages. Over the years, the place has expanded into one huge settlement.

Lot of foreigners who come to see Dharavi also pay a visit to Kumbharwada.

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