Tourists can be seen here marvelling at nature as their stationary wagons move uphill. The pull of the Magnetic Hill is said to be doing the wonder, but is it really?
Ladakh, a region in the northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir is known for its rugged and raw landscape, the bluest of skies, the warmest of sunshine, the kindest of people, and a distinctive culture. It is also known for its Magnetic Hill, a hill slope believed to be defying gravity with its magnetic powers that apparently pull metal objects like cars uphill.
A remote high desert valley, Ladakh is located at an elevation of about 10,000 feet. Extending from the Kunlun mountain range- one of the longest mountain ranges in Asia range to the Himalayas, the region is one of the most scenic in India and dotted with ancient monasteries. Near its city Leh is where the tourists rush to experience the unusual.
Just 30 km from Leh city, on the Leh-Kargil Highway, a small stretch seems to support the ‘magical’. A signboard put up by the local administration helps tourists recognise the spot, which is also known as Gravity Hill. Here, vehicles appear to move uphill at a speed of 10-20 kmph, even with their engine off.
“While enroute Leh via Kashmir, our car went back uphill with a switched off engine. The spot is 30 kms from Leh and is approx 3 kms from Patthar Sahib Gurudwara-a religious place and a tourist attraction in the area,” says Sumit Singh Jamwal, CEO, Escape Route, a travel management company in New Delhi.
Although locals, particularly tourist guides preach the phenomena as a fact, sometimes with superstitious stories, researchers give a different explanation.
It is said that the popular hill slope and its surrounding topography produce an optical illusion, making the slight downhill slope appear to be an uphill one. This optical illusion is attributed to an obstructed horizon.
“Magnetic hill is increasingly becoming a part of all Leh-Ladakh itineraries for the magnetic pull experienced at this spot seems to defy all logic. The main spot is off the road by approximately 500 meters but anyone can feel the phenomenon on the Leh-Kashmir highway as well,” says Jamwal. “When here, one can visit the Patthar Sahib Gurudwara and to the adjacent areas Uleytokpo, and Lamayuru that offers a lunar landscape!,” he suggests to travellers.
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.