Don’t like doing laundry? These people earn a living doing laundry the old-fashioned way. At various “dhobi khanas” in India, washing clothes – but more often things like sheets, towels, and occasionally uniforms – is still done by hand at facilities like this one by “dhobis” – who have been doing this for generations.
This particular dhobi khana or “dhobi ghat” is said to be India’s second largest, and Chennai’s oldest – dating from 1902 – with 128 washing stones and over 1,000 dhobis. I came here previously in February with some old cameras and took black-and-white photos – this time I brought a digital camera and a quadcopter to overfly the area. Unfortunately, the copter shut off during filming (stray wi-fi signals???) but you can get an idea of what the place looks like from the minute or so shown below.
This lady folds blankets and sheets. Small hotels and hospitals are among the customers of this dhobi khana.
The work is anything but easy – it’s backbreaking. There is some relief from a cup of Indian coffee with lots of milk and sugar, poured from a height the traditional way to make it frothy.
The work is a family effort.
And here the video: