See also the overview of the Inner City.
Dhobi Talao is named after a washerman's pond which disappeared before the mid 17th century. The north-eastern part of Dhobi Talao is called Cavel, from the Koli name Kolwar. The Kolis of this village were converted to Christianity by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Cavel became a Christian enclave, and later immigrants of this religion, from Goa, Daman, Bassein and Salsette settled here. Two Portuguese churches were built here, Nossa Senhora de Saude and Nossa Senhora d'Esperance. In later centuries, when the Christian population moved north, Gujarati and Marwari traders moved into Cavel.