De-Mystifying the Magnetic Hill

De-Mystifying the Magnetic Hill
The road on Magnetic Hill, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This hill in Ladakh is home to a strange phenomenon that defies gravity

Upasya Bhowal
July 01 , 2020
03 Min Read

We all know what happened when Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. While it was a most unfortunate event, it is by no means surprising because indeed tumbling down a hill is what usually happens. However, what if we tell you that there is a hill in India where, instead of rolling downwards, things actually go uphill? Never heard of any such thing? Well then, it is time to introduce you to the wonder that is Magnetic Hill.

This small stretch of road, located about 30km from Leh City, is unique because of its outright defiance of gravity. A part of the Leh-Kargil Highway, this road attracts stationary vehicles upwards. When left with the engine off, a car can roll up at a speed of 20km/hr on this hill. Due to this extraordinary phenomenon, it has been given many names like ‘Mystery Hill’ and ‘Gravity Hill’. Situated at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level, the Sindhu river runs on the eastern side of this hill.


The Myth

Some magnetic force is believed to draw the car uphill

While there definitely exists scientific explanations for this curious occurrence, locals in the area will tell you a completely different story. Villagers in Ladakh believe that this road once led to heaven. Deserving members would automatically be pulled there whereas those who were undeserving could never find their way to it.

The Science

There are two theories that can explain the reason behind this uphill movement. The most common one is that the hill has a strong magnetic force which is why it pulls vehicles in the vicinity. In fact, so strong is this magnetic force that planes of the Indian Air Force avoid this route so that they don’t face magnetic interference on their devices.

Another equally popular theory is that of an optical illusion. According to this, the hill does not really have a magnetic force but it just creates an optical illusion of sorts so that the road, which actually goes downhill, seems as if it goes uphill. Therefore, when you see the vehicle going upslope, it is actually the opposite and does not defy the laws of nature.

The Destination

The signboard at the Hill

Authorities have put up a billboard in the area stating the exact spot where this phenomenon can be observed. A yellow box marked on the road indicates the exact point where the car should be parked in neutral. From there, it can be seen climbing slowly up the hill.

When To Visit

While this road is open throughout the year, the best time to visit Magnetic Hill would be between July and October. The roads are clear during this time and the drive will not be a hassle.

Things To Keep In Mind

The city of Leh

The Magnetic Hill is part of a barren region about 30km from Leh. Therefore, apart from tourists, it is more or less a secluded area. While you may find a couple of homestays in the area, it is always advisable to check into a hotel at Leh City and drive to the hill from there. There are also not many food joints or restaurants in the area, so make sure you have packed enough food before you set out on your journey to this mystery hill.

The Magnetic Hill in Ladakh in fact has a sibling in Armenia. Known as Mount Aragat, this hill also seems to be going upwards when it actually goes downslope!

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