Mumbai’s Extremes Come Shaken, Not Stirred

by Jordi Sánchez-Cuenca

The Lokhandwala Complex in Oshiwara in Mumbai is the richest neighborhood in India.

Low-income settlements in central Oshiwara, one kilometer west of Lokhandwala Complex.

Of the 20 wealthiest neighborhoods in India, as many as 18 are in Mumbai. On the other hand, according to the 2010 census, 62 percent (around 12 million) of Mumbai's inhabitants live in slums. Rich and poor areas in these photographs have strong differences, but they are not as sharply segregated as is Quito, Madrid, Nairobi and São Paulo. Moreover, middle and upper-class neighborhoods host an immensely diverse population in terms of class and culture. This stems from a complex mix of factors, including centuries-old cultural roots that make Indian society's daily coexistence possible, without electrified walls or armed private guards.

Mumbai's high-end Bandra neighborhood.

Dharavi, with more than 600,000 inhabitants, is one of the largest slums in Asia. It is located near Bandra in Mumbai.

Mumbai is well known as the main economic hub in India, but the immense contribution of slum residents to this is rarely recognized. Sad as it sounds, it is still very common to hear that slums are a problem in the city and should simply be demolished to give space to formal developments. Polis has published a number of posts about Dharavi, the most notorious of Indian slums, about the hidden wealth that its people and businesses produce and residents' struggle against government plans to give this valuable piece of land to real estate companies.

A low-income fishing settlement borders the wealthy Seven Bungalows neighborhood.

The low-income Galli neighborhood lies next to wealthy Varsova.

Credits: Images from Google Earth.

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  1. Jordi, is there a citation for the statement that Lokhandwala is Bombay's wealthiest neighbourhood, please? I should have thought there was much more money concentrated in the South Bombay enclaves.

  2. Thanks Roswitha for the question. I found out this information in the following source:
    They say Oshiwara in Andheri (West) is the richest neighbourhood in India, in terms of number of Millionaire families, with over 15,000 households having annual incomes of over Rs 1 million.
    Then I looked for the wealthiest area in Oshiwara and found the Lochandwala complex.
    According to the same source, the top ranking neighbourhoods in Mumbai are Oshiwara, Sahar, Walkeshwar, Mahalakshmi, Versova Creek, Chembur West (Golf Club) and Borivalli West. Mahalakshmi and Walkeshwar (Malabar Hill) are in the Southern side of the city, but it seems that some northern areas have higher concentrations of rich families.
    If you have a more reliable source, an alternative way of identifying rich areas, or more accurate information, please do not hesitate to share it with us. Thanks.

  3. I was looking for that images in google earth or google maps and u can't see it. just a small zoom. Great job with this pics.


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