Ladakh, a cold desert between Himalayan and Karakoram mountain range is a sight to behold. Apart from being a treat for eyes, it also encompasses several mysterious phenomenons. Magnetic Hill in Ladakh is one such thing which has kept travellers intrigued for a long time.
What is Magnetic Hill in Ladakh?
For the uninitiated, its a "Cyclops Hill" located near Leh in Ladakh, India. The word cyclops literally means "round-eyed" or "circle-eyed".
The hill is said to have very strong magnetic properties which is strong enough to even pull cars in neutral mode uphill. It's magnetic interference can also force passing aircraft to increase their altitude to escape the interference.
Here, Objects and cars on the hill road appear to roll uphill in defiance of gravity when they are, in fact, rolling downhill.
What happens in Magnetic Hill?
Villagers residing in Ladakh believe this road in previous times led people to heaven. Those who were deserving of heaven were pulled from this path directly upwards to the heavenly abode while those who didn’t deserve could never make it there.
Somewhat Sensible Theory
It is called the "Magnetic force theory". It postulates that there is a strong magnetic force emanating from the hill that pulls vehicles that are within its range.
The Truth of Magnetic Hill
Is Magnetic Hill real?
Many people ask the above question.
The truth is, though the effect seen here is real, it's actually due to an optical illusion created by the layout of the surrounding land due to which a slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. Thus, water flowing uphill or car rolling uphill is only an optical illusion. Nothing more. Nothing Less.
Also, The Hill is actually not a hill but a downhill road. The layout of the area and surrounding slopes only create the appearance of a hill.
There is a yellow box demarcated by BRO (Border Roads Organisation) just at the start of the stretch of the Magnetic Hill. Here you can park your car in neutral gear and witness the mysterious magnetic abilities in full swing pulling the car uphill.
How do I get to Magnetic Hill?
Magnetic hill is located on Leh – Kargil – Srinagar National Highway; about 30 kilometers from Leh City and 185 kilometers from Kargil.
Road route From Leh to Magnetic Hill
The road from Leh to magnetic Hill is straightforward and smooth. It will only take 30 - 40 minutes to reach Magnetic Hill from Leh. It is just 25 kms away from Let Airport.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Leh[/caption]
- Just reach near Leh airport or Hall of Fame and start driving towards Magnetic Hill. Gurudwara Patthar Sahib is a famous spot on the way. This Gurudwara was built in the early 16th century to commemorate Guru Nanak Dev’s visit to Ladakh. Many people make it a point to visit it midway. You can also do the same.
- There is no Bus available for specifically magnetic hill from Leh. However, all buses going from Leh towards Kargil and Lamayuru passes through here. Hence, You can board them to reach Magnetic Hill.
- You can also reach Leh from Delhi directly on your own vehicle taking Manali-Leh Highway.
- The state-run JKSRTC buses ply within the Ladakh region. You can also take your private vehicle (cars/bikes) to Magnetic Hill from Leh as well.
Air Route to Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill is located at a distance of 32 km from Leh International Airport, which is the nearest airstrip. Leh airport is well connected with major airports in India. However, from this airport, you will have to take a road route only in order to reach Magnetic Hill.
Train Route To Magnetic Hill
The nearest rail station is Jammu Tawi which is at a distance of 700 km from Leh, Ladakh. As it is well connected with Delhi and other Indian cities, you can easily reach here. But post it, you will have to take a road route only.
Where to stay nearby Magnetic Hill?
The land around Magnetic Hill is barren for miles. So we suggest you take a day trip to Magnetic Hill with your base at Leh. On way, you can also visit Sham Valley which includes Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Nimmu Confluence of Indus and Zanskar, Basgo Plains, Alchi and Likir monasteries or nearby monasteries from Leh.
Nimmu Confluence of Indus and Zanskar[/caption]
When Is Magnetic Hill Open
Magnetic Hill remains open throughout the year. The road here never gets closed, even during peak winter.
Is Travel To Magnetic Hill Free
Yes, visiting Magnetic Hill is free. There are no entry or experimenting tickets which you have to take.
Is Magnetic Hill Worth It
It is a must-have experience for anyone visiting Ladakh. You can also visit other places on the way such as Indus Zanskar Confluence, Hall of Fame, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib to make it even better.
Where to eat?
You can have your meals at Nimmu village where there are plenty of local shops right on the road itself. Some of them offer very nice, clean and tasty local authentic Tibetan food.
Don’t expect eating joints & hotels in the barren region around the hill. Though some homestays are found still you should stock enough snacks in your vehicle before heading for the Magnetic Hill in Ladakh.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Ladakh Magnetic Hill is from July to September. The roads are clear at this time of the year and the weather is awesome for exploring Ladakh and its beauty.
The road to Magnetic Hill from Leh is also open in the winter months. So, you can plan a trip to Magnetic Hill from Leh in winter months as well. However, please ensure that you are willing to endure the cold weather and want to witness the white beauty of Ladakh.
Other Similar Phenomenon
There are several such Gravity Hills all over the world. Some roads appear to be going uphill while the slant is actually downhill. There are rivers that appear to be defying gravity and flowing uphill. All these are again an optical illusion because the water is in fact flowing downhill. Examples are: Tulsishyam in Gujarat, Electric Brae in Scotland and Gansu in China are just a few examples of such places.
- Consult your Doctors before the trip. Journey can easily become tedious, demanding and extreme.
- Besides being unbearably cold in the winter season, AMS (acute mountain sickness) is very possible, as the altitude is high and vertiginous. Carry medicines and give yourself enough time to acclimatize when you reach Leh.
Mobile Network Connectivity
BSNL and Airtel postpaid numbers work fine near Leh, other networks do not get any reception. BSNL has the widest coverage and Reliance Jio has also begun its operation since 2018.
In short, it's a perfect destination for travel junkies who would like to explore something unique. Having said that, trekking 14000 feet on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway is not everyone's cup of tea.