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Magnetic Hill

Indian Frontiers

(Credits : G-Connect)

Can your car get a life of its own due to some unknown natural phenomena? It seems to be the case at the Magnetic Hill located 30 kilometers outside Leh on the way to Alchi and Kargil.

A sign at this spot invites you to stop your car over a white square marked on the road, switch it off and leave it in neutral. Follow the instructions and your car actually starts moving on its own at speeds of 10-20 km per hour. Ok, so this was downhill 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.

I had heard of this phenomena but had to see it to believe it. And it turned out to be exactly as described here. And that too in a heavy car like the Scorpio overloaded with baggage and passengers.

It may not be as notorious as the Bermuda Triangle, but pilots play it safe by not flying any aircraft over Magnetic Hill according to an Army official.

What happens to the law of conservation of energy here? Is this magnetic field a source of energy? Is there a way to tap it? Is there more of it available on the planet?

Till you don’t find the answers, go to Magnetic Hill and give yourself a joyride!!

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.

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.  This place is called as the MAGNETIC HILL which is 30 km away from leh town.

In the Magnetic hill, you can see for yourself vehicles moving up at a speed of 20 km/ hour with the engines off.

To reach the Magnetic Hill, Ladakh, you need to take the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway. Leh is approximately 360 km away from Jammu.  The hill lies at a distance of 30 km from the town of Leh, at an elevation of around 14,000 feet above sea level.

The local administration has also put up 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 20 km/hour.

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.

The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion, although tour guides may claim natural or even supernatural forces are at work. The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a completely or mostly obstructed horizon; without a horizon, judging the slope of a surface is difficult as a reliable reference is missing. Objects one would normally assume to be more-or-less perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, offsetting the visual reference. The illusion is similar to the well-known Ames room, in which balls can also 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 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.