It comes across as a fascinating place, a huge human-powered mass laundry, where 100s of washermen (called "Dhobis" in Hindi) wash clothes in large concrete wash pens and dry them under an open sky. Contrary to what tourists may be given to believe by Tour-guides (so as to add colour and "masala" to their tours), the "Dhobis" of this "Ghat" are not involved in doing the laundry of Mumbai homes and families. In fact, they are mostly engaged in washing clothes for large, lower-market commercial organisations like restaurants, or hotels or guest-houses located in the vicinity. Indian families mostly use their washing-machines nowadays for their laundry while decades ago, they would hire maids to hand-wash the clothes. 

The "Dhobi Ghat" (open-air manually-operated laundry) is a surviving relic of Mumbai's past. For the Dhobis, it's generally a hereditary profession, with most of the washermen's families working here for last 2 or maybe 3 generations, their technique having remained virtually the same. The soiled clothes are first soaked in boiling water with Caustic Soda and then "flogged" on a slab to get physically rid them of dirt and stains etc.

After drying them in the open, clothes are ironed with age old charcoal presses with heavy wooden handles. It's a great photo opportunity if nothing else, you can get a view from the bridge next to the Mahalaxmi station.  Most of the local people find it rather amusing that an activity as mundane as washing arouses such curiosity in the tourists.