The Dobi Wallah of Cochin…… the story behind the photograph!

070E3B67-22C6-41CF-A595-0EB4ED738E9CSo many times we admire photos of something taken s8mewhere in the world. Sometimes the story behind the photograph is obvious and sometimes it isn’t. As a photographer, I would like to think that my images tell the story in their own right.

The photograph of the Dobi Wallah was taken in Cochin in Kerala, a town in the heart of South India.

Dobi means to ‘wash’ and Wallah is a term given in India to a person whose job it is. For example a ‘Tea Wallah’ is a person whose job it is to make tea.  I’m a tour guide Wallah -ie. my job is to be a tour guide.

In Cochin, I love to take my groups to the Dobi Ghana in Fort Cochin. This is the place in the town where people take their laundry to be done by the Dobi Wallahs. The people whose job it js to do hundreds of people’s laundry. Is it expensive?  Well, there’s the thing. In England ordinary, working class folks wouldn’t pay someone else to do their laundry but India they do. They don’t have the facility at home to wash their clothes, their bedding etc, so they make use of the Dobi Wallah, who is affordable, and they do it for them.

The Wallah’s mark the item to be laundered with some identifying mark so that they know who the item belongs to and return it them once done. They wash – men and women work there -they dry in the garden, they iron and then they return to the owner.

I particularly like this photo as it captures the soap suds flying through the air. At first it looks like snow, but then you soon realise that it’s soap caused by the vigorous bashing of the clothes on the concrete floor.

I hope my photos from around the world are self explanatory but it never hurts to know what was really going on in the photo!


  1. Hey Yvette. I LOVE this photograph. In fact I love all of your photographs. Why don’t my New England in the Fall photographs look like yours? Hmmm, maybe because they’re taken on my phone and I lack your natural eye and talent.

    Liked by 1 person

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