Above is a signboard of what has famously come to be known as the ‘Magnetic Hill’ in Ladakh. It invites you to be a part of and to experience this mystifying phenomenon first hand. Follow the instructions on the signage and your car actually starts moving on its own at speeds of 10-20 km per hour.
Villagers residing in Ladakh believe that there once existed a road that led people to heaven. Those who rightly deserved were pulled to the path directly while those who didn’t deserve could never make it there.
Revealing the Truth- Behind the Magnetic Hill
There is a concept of optical illusion in neuroscience; which in layman’s language means that you either see something that is not there at all, or you see things differently than how they physically are. Out of the numerous optical illusions recorded, there is one of Gravity Hill; which means that a very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope.
Why it appears that way can actually be attributed to the obstructed horizon, either completely or mostly. Our eyes and minds have used 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.
And for those of you who are thinking ‘The movement must have been due to the downhill descent and it was just following the rules of gravity.’ Turn your car in the opposite direction and repeat the steps. It will start moving uphill!
Who could have imagined that a vehicle could move up a steep mountain, with its ignition off? Sounds quite unbelievable!
How to Reach Magnetic Hill in Ladakh
Located at a distance of 30 km from Leh city on the Leh-Kargil Highway is a small stretch of road that defies the phenomenon of gravity. The reason is the magnetic hill that pulls stationary vehicles upwards. Famous as the Magnetic Hill in Ladakh, it is a major tourist attraction in the valley and a perfect pit-stop for tired riders moving on the highway.
An ideal time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from July to September when the roads are relatively clear and the weather is not its otherwise biting cold.