Can anyone ever imagine the movement of a vehicle up a steep mountain, with its ignition off? Sounds quite unbelievable! Well, this magnet magic can be experienced while you are traveling to Leh-Ladakh.
In the Magnetic hill, you can see for yourself vehicles moving up at a speed of 20 km/ hour with the engines off.
Magnet Hill is a so-called "gravity hill" located near Leh in Ladakh, India. Leh is one of the two districts that constitute Ladakh, the other being Kargil.
It is a part of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, located on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway, 360 KM away from Jammu, about 30 km from Leh, at a height of 11,000 feet above sea level.
On its south side flows the Indus, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan. The magnetic hill has become a popular stop for domestic tourists on car journeys. The alignment of the road with the slope of the background can give the illusion that cars are able to drift upwards.
The hill supposedly has magnetic properties which attracts metallic objects, making vehicles move up at a speed of about 20 kmph with their engines off.
However, many feel that it's a mere optical illusion and nothing to do with magnetic fields, electricity or unknown forces working along mysterious lines.
Mystery Explained :
Magnetic Hill is a place where the layout of the surrounding land produces the optical illusion that a very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. Thus, a car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill. There are hundreds of gravity hill locations around the world.
Many claim that natural or even supernatural forces are at work here causing the magnetic attractions. However, there is some scientific reasoning to this phenomenon as well.
A completely or major obstructed horizon is the most important factor contributing to the illusion. As, in the absence of a horizon it becomes difficult to judge the slope of a surface. If the horizon cannot be seen or is not level, then we may be fooled by objects that we expect to be vertical but that really are not.
Another theory is that false perspective might also play a role. Objects far away may seem smaller or larger than they really are. This is a remarkably common illusion that is found in numerous locations around the world. Usually it is a stretch of road in a hilly area where the level horizon is obscured. Objects such as trees and walls that normally provide visual clues to the true vertical, may be leaning slightly. This creates an optical illusion making a slight downhill look like an uphill slope. Objects may appear to roll uphill. Sometimes rivers even seem to flow against gravity.
There are several things that enable us to sense which way is up. The balance mechanism in our inner ears is one system we have, but visual clues are also important and can be overriding. If the horizon cannot be seen or is not level, then we may be fooled by objects that we expect to be vertical but that really are not. False perspective might also play a role. If a line of trees get larger or smaller with distance away, our sense of perspective is thrown off. Objects far away may seem smaller or larger than they really are.
Above is a signboard of what has famously come to be known as the ‘Magnetic Hill’ in Ladakh, placed by the local administration a bill board to help tourists recognize the Magnetic Hill. The board clearly states the whole phenomenon. So you can also enjoy a first hand experience as you reach the hill. Place your vehicle on a specific spot on the road with its engines off and you will soon notice the vehicle moving up at a speed of 10 - 20 km/hour.
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!
Impact on Helicopters and Aircraft's
Not only are the vehicles traveling on the road attracted by the magnetic powers of this hill, even the helicopters and aircrafts feel the same magnetic impact. Locals and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel claim that the helicopters and aircrafts that pass through the area have to fly at a greater speed to avoid the magnetic impact of the Magnetic hill. And if the aircraft comes within the radius of Magnetic Hill, it starts to jerk. In fact, the Indian Air Force pilots always steer clear of the Magnetic Hill.
Experience and theorize for yourself !
The tourist season in Ladakh is just round the corner. Plan a trip to this paradise and experience this captivating phenomenon and theorize for yourself the reason behind its magnetic property. While here, don’t forget to indulge in a host of other activities like yak safari, mountain climbing and trekking. Of course don’t miss out on treating your taste buds to some scrumptious local cuisine.