There’s something about Varanasi (also called Benaras or Banaras) that tugs at the very primal core of the soul. The city’s rich historical past has imbued a unique timelessness and beauty to all it touches. No wonder then that Varanasi consistently emerges on India’s and the world’s must-visit wanderlust trails. And then there are Varanasi’s age-old Benarasi weaving techniques, making the city a shining beacon of a textile tradition for centuries now.
Varanasi: The City of Inspiration
“Mist rising off the holy waters of the Ganges. The sound of conch shells reverberating through the air. Throngs of devotees milling on the ghats or venturing a cleansing dip into the river.”
Shanti: Our story
Amongst the pioneers of showcasing Benaras’s handcrafted weaving prowess to India and the world is Yashri Ghanshyam Nilesh Silks. This renowned manufacturer and wholesaler of Indian ethnic wear in Varanasi have a rich legacy spanning three generations and over 70 years. The family-run business, comprising of two sub-brands Ghanshyam Silks and Nilesh Silk Sarees (named after the two brothers currently running the firm) takes pride in offering only the finest quality of sarees, suits, lehengas and other ethnic wear with an eclectic mix to suit different tastes and budgets, be it traditional Benarasi weaves, bespoke bridal and trousseau ensembles, contemporary designs, festive, occasion and everyday wear.
All of Group Shanti’s products are pure and authentic labours of love, empowering weavers and artisans in the end-to-end manufacturing process through printing, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, stitched and woven aspects of a saree.
Timeline: From Humble Beginnings to Dynamic Powerhouse
Mehtab Chand starts a small trading shop for Benarasi sarees in the corner of a one-room house.
Chand’s son Mathura Das takes over the business and travels extensively across South India to personally sell his products.
Sensing a huge opportunity, Das expands from being solely a trading agent to manufacturing sarees.
Das’s eldest son Ghanshyam Das pitches in the business and his second son Nilesh Kumar joins a few years after.
Ghanshyam Das sees potential in the powerloom industry.
Started doing end to end production. Opened the first factory.
Amrit Shah, Ghanshyam Das’s son, joins the business.
Das Brothers along with Amrit Shah are instrumental in launching retail brand SHANTI taking the vision of the parent company Yashri Nilesh Ghanshyam Silks forward.
First SHANTI retail flagship store opens opp. Guru Dwara, Grubaugh, Varanasi.
Group Shanti is committed to showcasing the true heritage and age-old artisanship that drive the unparalleled craftsmanship of hand-woven Benarasi fabrics. It fuses timeless techniques with modern sensibilities, in a palette that is soaked in the richest of colours and textures, to produce dramatic results – an inherently Indian soul but with a global twist.
The company is committed to forging lasting collaborations directly with designers and weavers to ensure that only the finest quality handwoven designs make their way to clients. Backed by this promise of purity and lasting value is also the brand’s relentless pursuit of ethical production values and fair pricing standards.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Supporting weavers and empowering them to retain the age-old traditions of handloom weaving is an integral part of the company’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.