Pottery-making in Dharavi slum

The Kumbharwada part of the Dharavi slum is known for its pottery industry.

The industry traces its roots back over a hundred years when the Kumbhars, a Gujarati population of potters, moved into the slum. Gujarati is still the local language, and residents are a mix of new migrants and those whose families have been there for generations.

The process starts with finding the right clay powders.

The powders are mixed with water and mashed under foot until the right consistency is reached.

The wet clay is sold as large bricks to potters, such as this one, working under the watchful eye of his mother.

The small clay pots are used primarily to make yogurt. We’ve learned that the clay pot evaporates water as the yogurt is being formed, leaving a nice thick and creamy texture.

After drying in the sun, they are transferred to kilns like the one these boys are walking past on their way home from school. The soot produced by the smoldering fire is incredible, and covered everything in the area.

Some products, like these water jugs are painted and decorated.

2 thoughts on “Pottery-making in Dharavi slum

  1. Hello Chad,

    I browsed through your blog and greatly enjoyed the content and your choice of destinations. I am a final year architecture student from the Swiss Institue of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and am currently working on a paper which could be assimilated to a Master’s thesis. In your posts, I have found very interesting images. I would like to incorporate a few of them in my work. Please advise if it is possible.


  2. (Just to be clear, the essence of my work is purely academic, and the images would, of course, be credited to you.)

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