Jaisalmer is named after Rawal Jaisal, who founded the city in 1156 AD. ''Jaisalmer'' means ''the Hill Fort of Jaisal''. Jaisalmer is sometimes called the "Golden City of India" because the yellow sandstone used throughout the architecture of both the fort and the town below, imbues both with a certain golden-yellow light.
It is the largest district of Rajasthan and 3rd largest district by territorial region in the country, hugged on the west & south-west by the Pakistani border. The length of the international border attached to Jaisalmer District is 471km. It is located 790 kilometres away from the national capital Delhi.
Tourism is a major industry in Jaisalmer.
The Government of India initiated departmental exploration for oil in 1955-56 in the Jaisalmer area. Oil India Limited discovered natural gas in 1988 in the Jaisalmer basin.
Musicians and dancers are also a major cultural export from Jaisalmer to the rest of the world. Merasi (formerly Manganiyar, a derogatory term meaning "beggar") musicians have played the world over, and Queen Harish, the dancing desert drag queen, has toured the world over and has featured in international movies.
Bada Bagh and windmill farms of Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer is connected to the rest of Rajasthan by buses provided by Rajasthan State Transport Corporation as well as other private bus operators.
Jaisalmer Airport is located 17 kilometres southeast of Jaisalmer. Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Surat and Jodhpur.
Jaisalmer railway station runs daily trains between Jaisalmer and Jaipur, through which it is connected to Delhi and other cities all over India. This station comes under NWR zone and JU division. Additionally, there exists a luxury tourist train known as Palace on Wheels, which covers the major tourist destinations of Rajasthan, including Jaisalmer.
Built in 1156 by the Bhati Rajput ruler Jaisal, Jaisalmer Fort, situated on Meru Hill and named as ''Trikoot Garh'' has been the scene of many battles. Its massive sandstone walls are a tawny lion colour during the day, turning to a magical honey-gold as the sun sets. The famous Indian film director Satyajit Ray wrote a detective novel and later turned it into a film − ''Sonar Kella'' (The Golden Fortress) which was based on this fort. About a quarter of city's population still live inside the fort. The main attractions inside the fort are: Raj Mahal (Royal palace), Jain temples and the Laxminath temple.
Jaisalmer has been enriched by its Jain community, which has adorned the city with beautiful derasar, notably the temples dedicated to the 16th Tirthankara, Shantinath, and 23rd Tirthankara, Parshvanath.
There are seven Jain temples in total which are situated within the Jaisalmer fort built during the 12th and 15th centuries. Among these temples, the biggest is the ''Paraswanath Temple''; the others are ''Chandraprabhu temple'', ''Rishabdev temple'', ''Shitalnath Temple'', ''Kunthunath Temple'', and ''Shantinath Temple''. Known for their exquisite work of art and architecture that was predominant in the medieval era the temples are built out of yellow sandstone and have intricate engravings on them.
Jaisalmer has some of the oldest libraries of India which contain rarest of the manuscripts and artefacts of Jain tradition. There are many Tirtha (Jainism) around Jaisalmer such as Lodhruva (Lodarva), Amarsagar, Brahmsar and Pokhran.
Ramdevra a village in Jaisalmer is named after Baba Ramdevji, a Tanwar Rajput and a saint who took Samādhi in 1384 CE, at the age of 33 years. He is worshiped today by many social groups of India as Ishta-deva.
Gadsisar Lake - Excavated in 1367 by Rawal Gadsi Singh, it is a scenic rainwater lake surrounded by the small temples and shrines of Amar Sagar. Earlier, this lake was used to be the main water source of Jaisalmer. Due to an increased water demand for agriculture, the lake is increasingly threatened to dry out.
Bada Bagh, a complex with chhatris of Jai Singh II (d. 1743) and subsequent Maharajas of Jaisalmer,Lodhruva,Desert National Park,Bhaniyana,Lanela,Battle of Longewala point.
The deserted village of Rajasthan
Desert Festival of Jaisalmer is the most awaited and famous cultural and colourful event of Rajasthan. Camel races, Turban-tying and Mr. Desert competitions are organised. It is held in the month of February every year. The festival showcases Rajasthani folk songs and dance and it is very attractive to foreign tourists. Gair and Fire dancers which are the major attraction of the Jaisalmer desert festival celebrations. This is the best time to visit Jaisalmer to witness performing arts like Kalbelia dances and folk songs and music.