India · Travel Trivia

The Optical Illusion of Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill
“The phenomenon that defies gravity
Park your vehicle in the box marked with white paint on the road.
Switch it off and leave it in neutral”

Who could have imagined that a vehicle can move uphill with its ignition off. Well to experience the so called magnetic magic you will have to visit Magnetic Hill located on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar national highway, about 30 km from Leh. The local administration has put up a bill board to help the tourist in identifying the location and has also marked a spot on the road where your vehicle will start to move very slowly and can take speed up-to 20KM per hour even after you killed the engine. With naked eyes you can clearly see that the road is uphill but still your vehicle is accelerating.

Magnetic Hill.jpg
Magnetic Hill sign board in Leh
The illusion of Magnetic Hill

As with any other unlikely phenomenon there are a lot of stories related to magnetic hill and the most famous and researched one is that there is a magnetic force so strong that it can pull cars uphill. It is in fact so famous that even the aircraft’s that fly over this region are believed to increase their altitude in order to avoid magnetic interference. Also as with any other place in India some believe that there are some supernatural force are at work here. In reality the slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion, although some tourist and locals say otherwise. The reason behind this optical illusion is the absence of horizon; without a horizon, judging the slope of a surface is difficult as a 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. There are other places in the world where this illusion is experienced and some of them include Madinah Magnetic Hill in Saudi Arabia, Orroproo in South Australia and many more.

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