“Illusion is needed to disguise the emptiness within.” Arthur Erickson
How about experiencing an anti-gravity phenomenon on a mountainous National Highway? It sounds something deceiving when you hear it for the first time. Here is one such mystifying tourist destination, which has gained an offbeat prominence because of its optical illusionary effect.
Positioned around 27Kms away from Leh and located at an elevation over 11,000 ft. above the sea level, Magnetic Hill has become one of the famed tourist destinations in India. Visitors travel across various parts of the country to witness the mysterious ways of magnetic hill. It is said that the mysterious hill has an amazing magnetic strength to pull a vehicle moving up a vertical hill. Apart from vehicles, the magnetic impact has also been observed on helicopters and airplanes as well. In order to get rid of the magnetic radius while crossing over this spook hill, pilots also increase the altitude and speed of their flights. The impact can also be observed on water. Once poured on the ground, the water starts flowing upwards instead of sloping down. And the most astounding part of this site is observed when the wheels of a car start moving of its own at a speed of 20Kms per hour even after turning off the engine.
While heading towards the gravity hill via Leh-Srinagar National Highway, you will come to notice a big yellow signage welcoming you to Gravity Park to experience the mysterious ride.
The Mystery behind the Magnetic Hill
According to the inhabitants of Ladakh, the hill has some inexplicable potency to pull things towards it. Though, scientists claim such phenomenon defy of gravity takes place due to optical illusions. There is no supernatural force behind such instances. It is true that sometimes vehicle starts moving of its own on the slope area of this hilly region, but it actually happens due to the rule of gravity. You must have studied that our mind always sets an imaginative perception about any object before we see it practically. Without any perception, we can’t relate or visualise thatobject even after hearing about the same. Similarly, without any horizon, it is not possible for us to determine whether a slope is lean or slightly upright. And when the horizon gets blocked, our body gets no clear instruction from our mind. It leads to a great divergence between our perception and reality. Consequently, we start assuming an object or thing as erected or straight when they may not be the same practically.
According to scientists this kind of illusion is quite similar to the Moon Illusion wherein, the moon appears to be large to the prospect. You can also relate this illusionary impact of gravity hill with Ames Room Optical Illusion wherein, the balls appear to revolve against gravity. May Geologists have also undergone different studies and research to find out the physical features of this mysterious hill. According to them there are many spook hills like this in Brazil, Australia, Canada, France, Germany etc. Even in India, you will get to experience two such gravity hills called Kalo Dungar and Tulsi Shyam in Gujarat.
Things to do at Magnetic Hill
The wondrous gravity hill in Ladakh attracts numerous domestic and global tourists who flock here to experience a baffling drive. Though exploring an illusionary ride in the arm of an elevated hill station is the key purpose behind tourists gathering here, but this amazing site has something for fun as well.
Here are few attractions for which one must step into this magnetic hill at least once:
- Visiting a hill station remains curtailed unless you perform some enthralled activities like trekking and mountain climbing. The frosty height of magnetic hill allows you an opportunity to expose your adventurous persona to a large extent.
- If you are scaling the peaks with your buddies, do not forget to capture the picturesque environs.
- The moment you enter the magnetic hill region, follow the instructions on the signage indicating at what point you should park your vehicle to experience the actual thrill of gravity hill.
- Park your vehicle on a box-shaped line and turn off the engine of your vehicle. Amazingly, your vehicle will start moving on its own without any mechanical support. The best part of this ride can be felt when you see the car is moving at a speed of around 10-20Kms per hour.
- While visiting to the gravity hill, don’t miss the succulent Tibetan cuisines here.
- Yak safari is one more key attraction in this majestic mountain.
- You can also visit some adjoining destinations like Gurudwara Patthar Sahib (3.2Kms from gravity hill) and convergence of Indus Zanskar Rivers (1.7Kms from gravity hill).
Note: Keeping in mind the mounting tourists, the home administration have also enacted a tab board for visitors so that they can identify the gravity hill or magnetic hill.
Best Time to Visit
The climate of Leh and its adjoining vicinities is always enjoyable. However, the best time to reveal the panorama of the Himalayan region is from July to September.
Cuisines at Magnetic Hill
Being one of the most popular hill top in India, Leh is also known for its multi cuisines flavour including Chinese, Korean, Tibetan and Indian dishes. During your trip to the magnetic hill, you should try some of the local dishes in Leh. Thukpa (juicy noodle broth), Tsampa (blend of roasted flour and barley) and mouth-watering vegetable pasta called ”Skyu” are the famous eatables here. Additionally, lip-smacking meat or steamed vegetable Momo is a sure shot in the province of Ladakh.
Note: You may not find any good eateries at the peak. Hence, it is recommended to carry your own food while heading towards the peak. Additionally, within around 30Kms reach from Leh, you will get some good eateries.
Getting there at Magnetic Hill
Being one of the magnificent tourist attractions in the lap of mountain, magnetic hill in Ladakh pulls many tourists round the globe. Hence, reaching here is not that challenging.
The nearest airport to Magnetic Hill is Leh airport, which is situated around 30Kms away from the destination. Various regular flights are also available to reach Leh from different major cities like Srinagar, Delhi, Jammu and Chandigarh. From airport you can hire a taxi or car to reach your destination within an hour. Depending on the type of cab or taxi you hire the charges may range somewhere between Rs. 500 to Rs.1200.
On the other hand, if you are travelling to Magnetic Hill from Leh by road, the distance is around 30Kms that can be crossed via Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway.
Additionally, from Srinagar you will get several buses to Leh that runs under Jammu Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation. If you are travelling via New Manali-Leh route, it will cross around 475Kms distance to reach your destination. The best part of road trip to Leh is its captivating vista.
Places to Stay
Every year several visitors gather at magnetic hill to unveil its perplexing gravity. Hence, numbers of comfy staying options are also built in the vicinity of Leh- Ladakh. Accordingly, you will get some quality hotels near magnetic hill by spending somewhere between Rs.3000 to Rs.5000. Though, depending on the location and facilities you avail the charges may differ as well.
Following are few such staying options listed for your convenience that you may refer during your trip to gravity hill:
#Hotel K2 Continental
Skara Airport Road,
Leh 194101, India
Distance: 17.4 km from Magnetic Hill
#Hotel Cho Palace
Village Skara, Near Badami Bagh,
Leh 194101, India
Distance: 19.6 km from Magnetic Hill
#Hotel Grand Nubra
Tsogstoth Deskit- below the Deskit Monastery,
Leh 194103, India
Distance: 19.7 km from Magnetic Hill
Upper Skara, Near Manglay Forest Bagh,
Leh 194101, India
Distance: 20.4 km from Magnetic Hill
#Hotel Caravan Centre
Skara Road, Leh 194101, India
Distance: 20.4 km from Magnetic Hill
#Hotel Holiday Ladakh
Lower Tukcha Fort Road,
Leh 194101, India
Distance: 20.5 km from Magnetic Hill
So, all you need to do before entering to this mysterious region is planning a trip. Once you reach there, it is going to take your drive to a new feat of escapade. No matter which brand or what size vehicle you drive, magnetic hill will turn your ride to an enthralling trip in all aspects.
Having done with an impenetrable ride in the lap of illusionary mountain, you will surely come to narrate Arthur Erickson’s quote, which was cited very beginning of this post.
- Carry enough warm clothes during your voyage as the temperature in magnetic hill region is quite frosty.
- In order to feel the illusionary ride precisely, follow the signboard instructions carefully.
- Carry enough eatables on the way, as you will not find any eateries at the peak of magnetic hill.
- For bikers, wearing solid footwear, warm jackets and sunglass is must.
- Do not forget to carry your camera to lock some stunning shots at the peak.
- Avoid visiting the gravity hill during extreme winter, as intense snowfall causes heavy obstacles on the way.