Saris shine at Royal Ascot as hundreds wear South Asian traditional dress

Women aim to help support artisans who lost their income during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Hundreds of women wearing colourful saris shone brightly at Royal Ascot's highly anticipated afternoon of fashion, colloquially known as Ladies' Day, on Thursday.

The dapper group, who turned up in their finest traditional South Asian garments — some made especially for the occasion — dazzled at the third day of Britain's most valuable race meet.

Scroll through the gallery above to see women in their saris on day three of Royal Ascot

They appeared as part of an initiative to help promote artisans who lost their income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ladies' Day, although it's not officially known as that, takes place on day three of the five-day event, as does the most prestigious race — the Gold Cup.

British royal family members including Zara Tindall, her mother Princess Anne, and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, joined racegoers on the day when hats, fascinators and elaborate headwear took centre stage.

Scroll through the below gallery for some of the best headpieces from the Royal Ascot Ladies' Day

Dipti Jain, a doctor with the UK's National Health Service, who was behind the sari initiatIve, told the Times of India, she came up with the idea so that women could show pride in their heritage and celebrate the creations of weavers.

Most women live in the UK but some flew in from other countries, including India, she said.

Jain’s silk sari was hand-embroidered with skylines of Kolkata, her hometown, and London, as well as Queen Elizabeth II's portrait.

Other saris featured various themes ranging from health workers to characters from the epic Indian poem the Mahabharata. One woman wore a sari with borders in the colours of the Indian flag.

"They are calling me Miss India here because I have the flag and tricolor on my sari, I feel so proud," she told NDTV.

Rupa Khatun, an artisan from West Bengal, told Times of India she had never heard of Queen Elizabeth II or Royal Ascot before she was asked to create the sari Jain wore to the event.

The piece took her four months to complete, she said.

”This is the hardest sari I have ever made. The hardest part was making the queen’s face absolutely perfect," she said. “I am so happy that I am getting recognised."

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Updated: June 17, 2022, 9:56 AM