A few months earlier I had done a story on the Dhobi Ghat of Kolkata for the Beacon Kolkata magazine. Even though I am primarily a travel and landscape photographer I do enjoy shooting street, city scenes equally.
The South Dhobi Khana or Dhobi Ghat is located just off Ballygunge Circular Road, behind St. Lawrence School and it gave me a perfect opportunity to explore and get the frames which I had always seen from the Dhobi Ghats of Mumbai by famous photo-journalists.
On entering the compound I saw quite a number of washing bays which were numbered starting from 1 to 100 as far as I could remember. A detailed description about this Dhobi Ghat can be found over here.
The families living there work from as early as 4 am till late in the evening to get all the laundry done for the city folks and earn their living. Before I started photographing anything, I walked the length and breadth of the whole compound to see where my vantage positions would be. I was overwhelmed by the entire occasion, some people washing clothes, some drying them, some ironing them and some taking the clothes on the back of their cycle for delivering them.
The entire facility at Dhobi Ghat was something I had never seen before. Scores of people doing laundry in such precise synchronization – some making sure all the clothes are drying up properly, others ironing them in perfect sync and some putting all their strength into cleaning the clothes and sheets.
If it was not for Beacon Kolkata, I would not have had the knowledge of this wonderful place in the heart of the city.
Now I can safely say my wish of photographing a “Dhobi Ghat” is fulfilled, though I would love to shoot the Dhobi Ghat of Mumbai too.
Like always, i would prefer to limit my talking and let the photographs portray the colours and environment of the original laundry service of Kolkata (Calcutta).