Dharavi is a locality in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Its slum is the second-largest slum in the continent of Asia (after Orangi Town in Pakistan) and the third-largest slum in the world, with an area of just over 2.1 square kilometers (0.81 sq mi; 520 acres). Holding a population of around 700,000 and a population density of over 277,136/km2 (717,780/sq mi), Dharavi is one of the densest areas in the world.
The Dharavi slum was founded in 1882 during the British colonial era and grew in part because of an expulsion of factories and residents from the peninsular city center by the colonial government, and from the migration of poor rural Indians into urban Mumbai (then called Bombay). For this reason, Dharavi is currently a highly multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and diverse settlement.
Dharavi has an active informal economy in which numerous household enterprises employ many of the slum residents– leather, textiles and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi. The total annual turnover has been estimated at over US$1 billion.
Dharavi has suffered from many epidemics and other disasters, including a widespread plague in 1896 which killed over half of the population of Mumbai
In the 18th century, Dharavi was an island with predominantly mangrove swamp. It was a sparsely populated village before the late 19th century, inhabited by Koli fishermen. Dharavi was then referred to as the village of Koliwadas.