The Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill Leh, Ladakh

The magnetic hill is actually a gravity hill located near Leh in Ladakh, India. The hill is said to have magnetic properties that are strong enough to pull a car uphill and force passing aircraft to increase their altitude in order to increase interference. There’s a billboard put up to help the tourists passing by the road to recognizing the Magnetic hill. The board clearly states the phenomenon of the magnetic hill.

Place the vehicle on the specifies spot on the road switching off its engine. And you can see that the vehicle starts to move up with a speed of 20km/hour. This hill is located on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar national highway, which is about 50km from Leh. It can be seen at a height of 11,000 feet above the sea level.

Magnetic Hill Sign Board

The magnetic hill has become a popular stop for tourists on car journeys. The Indus river, which originates in Tibet, flows on the south side of the hill.

But what is all about the Magnetic hill in reality?

In reality, the effect is an optical illusion. There is not at all any magnetic disturbance in that area. The magnetic effect entirely results from the optical illusion and not anything else. This hill is a place where the layout out of the surrounding land produces the optical illusion that a very slight downhill slope appears like an uphill slope. Therefore, when a car is left out of gear, it appears to be rolling uphill. There are hundreds of gravity hill locations around the world.

Magnetic Hill Warnings

The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion. Although tour guides may claim that natural or supernatural forces are at work. The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a  completely or mostly obstructed horizon. Judging the slope of a surface is difficult as a reliable reference is missing without the horizon. Some objects which would seem perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, offsetting the visual reference. One of the best examples for this is “Ames room”, in which balls appear to roll against gravity.

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 even the rivers 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 equally important and can be overriding. If the horizon cannot be seen or isn’t level, then we may be fooled by objects that we expect to be vertical but in reality, they aren’t. False perspective may also play a role. If a line of trees gets larger or smaller with distance away, our sense of perspective will not be correct. Objects far away may seem smaller or larger than what they are in reality.

So, the magnetic hill is only an optical illusion that we see. There is nothing like the uphill being against gravity.

You May Also Like: India’s Amazing Living Bridges Are Made Of Living Trees and Vines!