Indian slum tour beats Taj Mahal as top tourist destination

A tour of one of the world’s biggest slums has been voted tourists’ most popular attraction in India, according to a travel site. The sprawling Dharavi slum in Mumbai became the favourite tourist experience of 2019 in India and even beat the Taj Mahal, said TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards.

A small group tour of the Dharavi slums – usually by someone who grew up in them – is the top most preference of tourists who visit the country

190626 young indian boy
Slum tours around the world have become more popular in recent years.

Dharavi, which is the largest slum in Asia, was first in the Top 10 Experiences list in India and also made it to the 10 Travellers’ Choice Experiences 2019 in Asia list. 

Slum tours around the world have become more popular in recent years and are the source of much discussion over their ethics.

Critics claim they are exploitative, and claim poor areas are even cleared out or “sanitised” by police before tourists visit, meaning those who live in these areas are forced to go along. Proponents, however, say any responsible tour is carried out by proud residents who show that their home is more than a slum and promote the enterprise and ingenuity within them.

190626 dharavi
Indian workers sorting plastic at a factory

Dharavi, for instance, recycles much of Mumbai’s waste plastic and paper, and is home to various craft industries. This allows tourists to contribute to an economy far away from the temples and palaces on the usual visitor trail. Second in the list for the experiences was a “bike tour of Old Delhi”, then a “private day tour of Taj Mahal and Agra Fort by a superfast train”.

On the list for the whole of Asia, Dharavi, which is home to more than a million people and featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire, came 10th after “a day group Angkor Wat Tour from Siem Reap in Cambodia” and the “Krabi Sunset Cruises at Ao Nang, Thailand”.

In the Asia list, the “Ubud tour with jungle swing in Indonesia” bagged the top spot. The top ranking in the world was the “faster than skip-the-line experience at the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica Tour in Rome”.

Source: Gulf News