London's Indophile glitterati turned out in force on Tuesday 19th November to a splendid celebratory Diwali dinner at the Cinnamon Club in Westminster, generously sponsored by the City finance firm, City Index.

50 guests,specially invited by City Index,including former High Commissioner to India Sir Nicholas Fenn,accompanied by Lady Fenn, along with the Marchioness of Bute, Valentine and Lulu Guinness, Hugo Bulmer and Lucia Silver, Viscountess de Vesci and her aunt, the Maharani Kumari Karuna Devi of Burdwan, and City Index COO Simon Price sipped decorative but lethal mango lassis, laced with vodka, before proceeding to the glassy private dining room for dinner.

The aim of the evening was to bring Jaisalmer's plight to the attention of a new circle of India-lovers, and to celebrate the two awards, UNESCO and British Airways, won this year by JiJ.

It was also an opportunity for Simon Chambers, Director Secretariat of UK UNESCO to present the citation on behalf of the 2002 UNESCO South East Asian Cultural Heritage Conservation Awards.

Introduced by Sailesh Barchha, Business Development Manager of City Index, Sue Carpenter spoke about the
dangers facing the desert city, and the great strides that have been made to arrest the damage through JiJ's Streetscape Revitalisation Project, implemented in Jaisalmer by INTACH, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, and funded by the UK based Staples Trust.

'Indian glam' was the dress code for the event, to which guests responded enthusiastically.

The fashion hit of the evening was Sue Carpenter's Schiaparelli-pink embroidered organza kurta, designed by fellow guest, Rajni Malla, whose Nepalese design company was inundated with requests for similar showstoppers from, among others, two of the most stylish men in the room - Bollywood music producer Biddu and conservation architect Karan Grover.

The evening was further enhanced by the presence of HH The Maharani Kumari Karuna Devi of Burdwan, in London visiting her niece and fellow guest The Viscountess de Vesci, and Valentine and Lulu Guinness, who attended before jetting off to Los Angeles for the opening of Lulu's new shop.

'Stage designer Will Bowen, resplendent in Indian Nehru jacket, chatted to Hester Marriott of the Staples Trust, funders of JiJ's Streetscape Project, while jewellery designer Eileen Coyne and her daughter Jacina, also a designer, looked a vision in their flowing robes and Nepalese baubles - plus the odd member of Westminster's political fraternity, who had wandered off course into the wrong party.

We are most grateful to Simon Price, Sailesh Barchha and City Index for their supprt and hard work in making this evening memorable. We would also like to thank the staff of the Cinnamon Club and Karan Bilimoria for his continued support of JiJís events with his generous donation of Cobra beer and General Billyís wine.

All photographs reproduced by kind permission of Henrietta van den Bergh