Have you ever heard of a place on earth that defies gravity? unbelievable, is it? Nestled in the lap of snow-capped Himalayan ranges and silver valleys, Ladakh in India has a Magnetic hill where a vehicle moves up a steep hill even with their ignition off. The Magnetic hill or Gravity Hill is situated at a distance of 30 km from the capital city Leh and is located on the Leh-Kargil national highway, at a height of 14000 ft above sea level.
The magnetic power here can be experienced by switching off the vehicle at a certain spot here. You will notice the vehicle moving up the hill in no time at a speed of about 20 km/hr. The experience is also termed as Himalayan wonder and is a must if you happen to venture into the Himalayan territory of this part of the world.
Even while flying around this region, one can feel the pull of magnetic field. As reported by the local people and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), when the helicopters and aircraft come within the radius of this hill, they start to jerk. To avoid accidents, the fliers are advised to fly at specific speed and height.
The area has become a popular sightseeing place also because of the Sikh Gurudwara Pathar Sahib near the hill which is maintained by the Indian Army. Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the ten Gurus of Sikhism had meditated near this hill in the 17th century. The Magnetic wonder combined with religious sentiments makes this place a must visit while traveling to Ladakh. People come to this Himalayan terrain for the sheer adventure and rush of adrenalin for this mountain beauty is more rugged than you would have thought.
Truth behind the phenomenon
The fact is, in this place, the layout of the area and the surrounding slopes creates an optical illusion that the very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. Why it appears that way can actually be attributed to obstructed horizon, either completely or mostly. It’s true you will find your vehicle moving but not due to any magnetic force but a slope. People get confused due to illusion effect as the horizon is no visible and believe it’s a magnetic effect. Our eyes and minds are used to using the horizon as a reliable reference to be able to tell if a particular slope is straight or if there is a slant. Without the horizon, we will not be able to tell for sure.
The same concept works in aviation as well. Pilots up in the sky cannot see the horizon and if it weren’t for the electronic equipment and gadgets, they would never be able to tell if the plane is flying straight, upwards or downwards. If the horizon is obstructed, our minds get confused and can often perceive things to be horizontal or vertical when they are actually not. This illusion is much similar to that of Moon Illusion where the moon appears to be much large to the horizon or Ames room Illusion where balls can appear to roll against gravity.
The other two such magnetic hills are in Gujarat. One is near Bhuj (Kalo Dungar – the black hills) and other at Tulsi Shyam. Below is the pictorial illustration for a better understand.