About Kalaniketan

History

The year was 1942 and a summer night in the village of Savarkundla, Gujarat when the Parekh household was preparing to go to bed. Suddenly the stillness was shattered by an authoritative knock. It was the police. They were looking again for Jayantibhai, the rebellious son of the house. The boy was being hunted down for his vigorous participation in the Quit India Movement. This time old Vachhraj, Jayantibhai’s father, was fed up. So that night when the boy sneaked home, he was given a sound thrashing and unceremoniously packed off to Mumbai.

Alone in the swarming metropolis, Jayantibhai found employment as a sales boy in a saree shop called Kala Niketan. Those initial nights were spent on the footpath. Dreaming of owning an enterprise that would have people from all over the world (including the British), flocking for his wares.

Armed with all his fancy dreaming, the young man worked relentlessly. Learning everything he could about skills and sarees. Knowing them; loving them; he understood fashion. He interacted with weavers and craftsmen. And he built lifelong relationship with customers.

The sight of Jayantibhai cycling at noon, while delivering important consignments, became increasingly familiar. The year was 1951. And within the cramped 200 sq. ft confines of Kala Niketan, a dream was becoming real. His popularity soared to such levels that he was soon made manager of Kala Niketan. And finally in partnership with Narandas Nathwani, he became the owner.

Life now became one big trip for Jayantibhai. He graduated from his bicycle to endless train journeys, painful bullock cart sojourns and bumpy camel rides as he repeatedly criss crossed Gujarat, Banaras, Andhra Pradesh, Paithan and other places to coax weavers to create special editions and reviving near extinct design styles.

Jayantibhai had an eye for quality and design, and spurred the weavers to create fabulous sarees. Soon enough these gifted artisans began to create masterpieces especially for Jayantibhai. He then started designing made to order prints for the astute customers.

His expertise of easily understanding fabric began to take on legendary proportions. Whatever he selected turned in to a market trend.

“Anything that Jayantibhai touches just turns to gold” became a popular saying among trade circles.

This shy, humble man from Saurashtra realized that his growing stature was propelling an entire industry, and yet his first love remained his customers.

His dedication and level of service was legendary. He knew all his customers by their first names. This created a warm rapport between them, and there began a lifelong and loyal relation.

Maharajas, Head of State, Kings and Queens have repeatedly purchased sarees and silks from Jayantibhai’s hands. So have the commoners. He showers all of them with equal affection.

Mother insists on their daughter’s wedding ensembles being chosen by him. Father wants him to cut the first fabric for their babies. Ask Jayantibhai and he will tell you that it is these abiding relationships that provide him soul motivation.

Meanwhile, at one of its Khandani Baithaks (family meeting) the Kala Niketan group felt it was time to conquer fresh territories. Over the years, countless interaction with craftsmen has resulted in a priceless bank of design ideas. The Baithak resolved to put those ideas to work. Thus was born K.N Dyers and Printers Pvt. Ltd. Here, a custom built design studio evolves signature skills called K.N Prints. These are retained both in India and abroad.

Even today the clientele carries the Red bag with the Kala Niketan trade mark logo of Lady with a Lotus with great pride.

So what does Jayantibhai finally feel about his stupendous success and Kala Niketan’s ambitious plans of diversifying into readymade menswear and designwear? When asked he just smiled and said “Each day I thank my father for driving me out of the cozy home into the footpaths of Mumbai.”

Popular Stories

Jayantibhai today is a name to reckon with not only because of his outstanding professional skills, but also his flair to touch the strings of people heart. Call it a god gift or an astounding endowment, his relation with customers went beyond the usual norms. Here are some of the popular stories that still echo to everyone who walks into the prestigious store of Kala Niketan:

  • In 1958, Jayantibhai taught an American woman how to wear a saree. She was so overjoyed that she refused to take it off. She ran all the way to her hotel to show it to her husband. Later when she returned, Jayantibhai got a saree specially ‘tailored’ for her. This was world’s first readymade saree.
  • Once, Jayantibhai predicted twins for one of his lady customers. She wouldn’t believe it. But when the twins were actually born, she was so delighted that she sent sweets that were according to Jayantibhai ‘enough to feed a town’.
  • A famous French designer (name withheld on request) once flew down to buy fabrics from Kala Niketan. After showing him around, Ashokbhai-Jayantibhai’s he would like to buy, “Our Monsieur”, sighed the designer, “I would like to transport your entire showroom for the femmes of Paris.”Assailed by visions of passionate French women furiously digging up Kala Niketan, Ashokbhai worked swiftly to set up Kala Darshan. This export division is equipped to handle the wildest of demands.

Present

The legacy of Jayantibhai was successfully carried forward by his son Ashokbhai.  The torch of passion that was lit by Jayantibhai took a larger spin with the arrival of Ashokbhai in the picture.

Inspired by the same traits that made the brand a success, he expanded on the idea and brought in the best that India had to offer in the Ethnic segment.

With his love for fabrics growing louder with days, Ashokbhai travelled to the every nook and corner of India in order to discover the tremendously creative craftsmen and weavers. He astutely succeeded in exploring a web of beautiful breathtaking designs. He introduced Salwar Kameez Dupatta sets, Chaniya Cholis and other Ethnic wear categories to the business.

Ashokbhai's son Mitulbhai has now taken over the reigns of his business that includes the export of Made-to-Order Kaftans to all the Middle Eastern countries. The father-son team is a leading exporter in this segment.

Mitulbhai understands that the world has changed, and so have the customer's buying habits. In this fast paced world, the women are often working and pursuing a career. She wants to be fashionable and yet doesn't find the time to go shopping. Indian Diaspora has now spread across the world, and yet is deeply rooted in Indian traditions and festivities. They are often in want of the best of Indian Ethnic wear. This makes them connect to our true and age old customs and traditions. Festivals like Diwali, Navratri, Onam etc. and Weddings are celebrated with great fervor.

Keeping in mind the significance of reaching each and every customer, Mitulbhai has now ventured into the online business. His vision is to offer the same level of service and quality selection to all those who wish to avail the latest and the best in fashion, but from the comfort of their homes, from anywhere in the world.

In the coming years, the father-son duo wants to go beyond mastering the art of understanding Indian garments and reach an enviable and unparalleled position more than ever.

Future

The time has come when KalaNiketan will wow you with breathtaking world class designs and high quality fabric. We assure all our customers a magnificent, convenient and straightforward shopping experience from anywhere across the globe. We will endeavor to emulate the same level of service, satisfaction and fulfillment as delivered by our founding father.

We regularly engage in a premeditated planning process to establish our potential route, a focused plan and reinvent ourselves. We want to preserve the agility and trust that we have acquired over all these decades while leveraging the potency of being a global organization.

We will bring to you the latest and the best that Indian fashion has to offer in various categories at a fair price. Soon, we intend to turn into a Global Store for Indian fashion that is ready to deliver anywhere in the world with the legendary service and dedication of Kala Niketan.

Kala Niketan wishes our customers a wonderful shopping experience and a lasting pleasure of shopping from our site.