Where is Dharavi Island? Who are the East Indians? How is day to day life on the island today?
Not to be confused with the suburb of Dharavi in Central Mumbai, this island is one of the last remaining sanctuaries of pristine natural beauty and coastal life in Mumbai. Stretching from Manori in the south to Dongri in the north, the island is filled with beaches, rice fields, salt pans and mangroves.
The island is home to many East Indians – an indigenous people from the Mumbai region who converted to Christianity during the Portuguese rule. On this experience, we will learn about local East Indian customs, traditions and professions – and life on the island today.
As we journey through the dramatic landscape of the island, past beautiful beaches, sea-cliffs and dense forests, we will also visit medieval churches, picture-perfect villages and ancient ruins and markers from times gone by.
About our local expert:
This experience will be led by a local resident of Uttan village, Mogan Rodrigues. An East Indian himself, he has an extraordinary knowledge of the region, its heritage, and its lovely people. He will let us in on some interesting stories and events that took place in the region from ancient times until today.
Bhayender railway station (West)
Meet our local expert
Upon reaching the meeting point at Bhayender station, you will be greeted by our local expert.
Board our transport and begin the experience
Embark on a journey through the lush green fields and mangrove forests of the island. Understand who the East Indians are and how unique their culture is by visiting churches and picturesque villages on the way.
Tea and refreshments in a heritage villa
Visit a century old villa in one of the island’s traditional village and try your hands on a traditional East Indian snack – fugias!
Traditional East Indian lunch
Visit the charming East Indian museum on your way to our local expert’s home in Uttan village. Upon arriving at his home, you will be served a whole East Indian feast! East Indian cuisine is truly unique, a combination of indigenous and European influences. For the non vegetarians, there is generally fresh fish while a whole lot of fresh vegetables and lentils for the vegetarians. Rice bhakris accompany the mains.
Drop off at Bhayender station
Post lunch, you will be dropped off back to Bhayender station where our experience ends.
- Visit of churches, beaches, temples, and a museum
- Tea and refreshments
- Local expert fees
- Walk through a small heritage village
- Authentic homemade East Indian lunch (veg or non-veg)
- Transport around the island from the meeting point and back
- Anything not included in inclusions
- Wear comfortable clothes
- A bottle of water (non-disposable bottles preferred)
- Cap and sunglasses
- Camera (optional)
- Curiosity (compulsory!)
How to reach Bhayender station:
- By public transport (recommended) – Take a local train to Bhayender station located on the Western Line.
- By private car/taxi – Please follow Google Maps for directions.
Swadesee offers authentic, eco-friendly community-led experiences in Maharashtra. On every Swadesee experience that is booked, we ensure that the majority of the revenue generated goes back to the community. We consider our local experts as leaders and owners of the experience.
Today, Dharavi Island is mostly visited by day picnickers with very few visitors stopping to appreciate the local heritage. We hope that at the end of this unique experience you will appreciate the great amount of cultural, natural and historical heritage of the island.
As Mumbai grows, the peaceful life of the residents of the island is being threatened – we will also discuss some of the current issues of the islanders and understand solutions. We must all get together to save this beautiful island from being taken over by the concrete jungle.