Gravity Hills
Our World and Optical Illusions



 
Gravity Hills - Magnetic Hills
Our World and Optical Illusions

A gravity hill, also known as a magnetic hill (and sometimes a mystery hill or a gravity road), is a place where the layout of the surrounding land produces the optical illusion that a very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope.

Thus, a car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill. There are hundreds of gravity hill locations around the world. The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion, although sites are often accompanied by claims that magnetic or even supernatural forces are at work.

The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a completely or mostly obstructed horizon; without a horizon, judging the slope of a surface is difficult as a reliable 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.


Magnetic Hill - Ladakh, India

Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill located near Leh in Ladakh, India. The hill is alleged to have magnetic properties strong enough to pull cars uphill and force passing aircraft to increase their altitude in order to escape magnetic interference; in reality, the effect is an optical illusion created by the gravity hill.

The hill is located on the Leh-Kargil-Batalik national highway, and is bordered by the Sindhu river. The Indian Army maintains a sikh Gurudwara near the hill where Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, meditated in the 15th century.

Due to both the Gurudwara and the gravity hill, the area has become a popular sightseeing destination.

A hill near picturesque Leh has magnetic properties which attracts metallic objects, making vehicles move up at a speed of about 20 km per hour with their engines off.

The ``Magnetic Hill'' is located on the Leh-Kargil-Batalik national highway, about 30 km from Leh town, at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level. On its eastern side, flows the Sindhu, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan.

A group of journalists, visiting Leh to cover the Sindhu Darshan Festival, were surprised when they had a first hand experience of the qualities of the ``Magnetic Hill''.

The local administration has put up a billboard near the ``Magnetic Hill'' for tourists stating that if a vehicle is placed on a particular spot on the road and the engine is switched off, it would not slide down but move up.

When the Swaraj Mazda in which the journalists went for sightseeing reached the particular point with ignition switched off, the vehicle actually started moving upward at a speed of more than 20 km.


Magnetic Hills aka Gravity Hills

Magnetic Hills aka Gravity Hills have no special powers nor do they defy the laws of gravity.

They merely are an optical illusion which makes the viewer believe objects are traveling uphill rather than down.

Considering it as a mere fluke, the journalists made the driver of the Swaraj Mazda take the vehicle back to that point and place it there again. The same thing happened -- the vehicle moved up. The exercise was repeated several times with the same result.

Locals and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel, who man the Ladakh border with China, even claim that to escape the magnetic impact of the hill, helicopters and aircraft have to fly at a relatively greater height. And aircraft which come into the radius of the ``Magnetic Hill'' face jerks, similar to those witnessed during turbulence.

A few kilometres from the ``Magnetic Hill'' is ``Gurdwara Patthar Sahib'' where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru of sikhs, had sat on meditation in the 17th century. The Gurdwara, which has its own religious importance for the Sikhs, has remained in the oblivion due to its location.

Maintained by the Army, the Gurdwara is more of a place of prayer for the locals, armymen and tourists. Not many Sikhs from other parts of the country visit the place.

It is said when Guru Gobind Singh was meditating here, an evil soul threw a large stone from the hill top at him. The stone did hit him, but Guru Gobind Singh was not hurt. However, the mark of the Guru was left on the stone which is still lying at the Gurdwara.

The religious place remained unexplored for a long time and was developed only after the army deputed its personnel for the maintenance.

The ``Magnetic Hill'' is one of the several unique things which one can find in Ladakh.



Magnetic Hill
- New Brunswick, Canada


Magnetic Hill is one of New Brunswick's most famous attractions... or is it magic?

Stories about the mystery of Magnetic Hill have been circulating since the early 1800s.

People still find it hard to believe that you can drive your vehicle to the bottom of the hill, put it in neutral, and be pulled right back up the hill, allegedly by magnetic force, or is it?

Magnetic Hill is also an entire theme park, complete with the delightful shops of Wharf Village.



Magnetic Hill - Australia

We traveled through Australia and read in the lonely planet about this magnetic hill where you can watch your car rolling up the hill not down the hill.

And as you can see it looks true. Amazing isn't it?


The slope of a gravity hill is an optical illusion, and gravity has nothing to do with it. Local guides may claim unexplained natural or even supernatural forces are at work, but the reality is less exotic.

The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a completely or mostly obstructed horizon—without it, judging the slope of a surface is very difficult, as a reliable 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.

While humans also have a sense of balance to determine the inclination of the ground, visual clues can override this sense, especially if the inclination is shallow.