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Magnetic Hill, Leh

  • Magnetic Hills Ladakh - Everything You Should Know


    Learned about Newton’s Gravity in Physics class? Well, now you may get confused about how it bends down in front of nature. 
    While one raids the barren roads of Leh, a signboard appears indicating “Magnetic Hill- The Phenomenon that Defies Gravity.” A white box marked with ‘Park your vehicle Here’ appears ahead of the board where one can park their vehicles in neutral and see them moving uphill at a speed of 10-20km/hr by itself against the gravity.

    The phenomenon is a sensation and attracts hundreds of tourists every month. One can see them enjoying and throwing various facts & theories behind the same. This small stretch is a perfect stopover to record videos, click pictures and take some rest in solace.
     
    Many experts have presented various theories in and against the assumption and tried to find the reason vehicle moving uphill and not downhill against the slope. And they came out with the aspect of Magnetic theory or optical illusion amongst many other reasons.

    So, is it really defying the law or some kind of optical illusion? Let’s find out!


    Theories behind the Wonder of Ladakh:


    Ever high Superstitious Theory:
    Whenever you get a chance to discuss the real reason behind the occurrence from a local or an older person, they have a new story to tell. This story deals with a magical path to heaven. Their belief talks about the existence of a road once that used to send those to heaven who did good ‘karma’ or deeds in their life and deserved it. Whereas those who failed to do so couldn’t catch the pace of paradise. Well, who can remark a common superstition?

    Theory of Earth’s Magnetic Force: Still not yet proved, but it speaks of magnetic power springing up from the earth’s interior that pulls the vehicle uphill. It is also said that airlines and fighter planes either take a diversion or speed up their jets when they reach near to the patch.

    Theory of Optical Illusion: Believed logically by most of the people all around the world, it says that even though the slope is in a downward direction, it appears upright due to the misconception of the terrain. This makes the vehicle go look upslope even when it is being driven down. The theory has gained prominence recently and stirred all the old beliefs to some extent.

    Let’s Find Some Quick Facts Before Paying a Visit to Magnetic Hills:


    Best time to visit: The roads are open to visitors during the months of May to September. For rest of the time of year, it may get occupied with snow. Hence it is best to visit Magnetic Hills during May-September.

    Altitude: At a height of 14000 feet, the Magnetic Hills are sitting proudly on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway.

    Distance Between Leh and Magnetic Hills: From Leh, Magnetic Hills is around 30km on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway.

    How to reach from Leh: Take your bike, car or any other vehicle and hit to Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway. After crossing 30km or 40 minutes drive, you will be able to catch the yellow board marking ‘Magnetic Hill’. Here's our full guide if you're taking a trip from manali to leh or a short trip from srinagar to leh-ladakh

    Permits: Inner Line Permit for Leh can be easily grabbed from Leh DC office between 9.00 AM to 3.00 PM at a nominal charge of Rs. 200 which includes environment tax and Red Cross Donation as well. Visiting Magnetic Hills would not require any extra permit or pass.

    Route Leh-Kargil-Batalik National Highway: While one catches the Leh-Kargil National Highway towards the Magnetic Hills, he will get to pass through major attractions like Hall of fame and Gurudwara Pather Sahib before reaching the destination.

    Places to Visit Near Magnetic Hills


    Hall of Fame

    Hall of Fame is a museum well built and maintained by Indian Army in order to pay respect and memorize them for life who lost their lives in Indo-Pak war. From grand entrance to museum gallery displaying arms, ammunitions seized by Indian Army from Pakistan, pictures of war heroes and stories of their pride; all are here! One surely fills their heart with pride and love for nation while on a visit here. This museum is present at a distance of 4km from main Leh city and is not a place to be missed at any cost. 

    Gurudwara Pather Sahib

    It was built in the 16th Century, is a charm to look at. The beautiful shrine, 24km from Leh city, leads up to the Gurudwara by multiple steps. The place commemorates the visit of Guru Nanak Dev during his era. Moreover, the holy rock or ‘Pather’ is staying in it and has a sacred story backing up. In fact, Tibetan Buddhists also pay a huge respect to the Gurudwara and thousands of visitors come here every year with hope and respect. Right now, Indian Army is responsible for its regular maintenance.

    Sangam

    Sangam of Zanskar and Indus river is a worth to look at while one takes a stopover on the highway. Before reaching the confluence, blue shiny Indus stays along the highway and at a particular point, one can notice muddy Zanskar merging in, forming variations of colors. Adventure seekers love to raft in fascinating waters and notice the meeting closely. This confluence occurs 35 km from Leh city and a mere 15 minutes from the Magnetic Hill.

    Alchi Monastery or Buddhist Monastic Complex

    It was built between 10th to 11th century and is standing beautifully amidst barren and snowy peaks. What interest the travelers most about it is wall paintings, ancient architecture and peaceful aura. Apart from that, one can observe the tall and calm statue of Buddha, wood engravings and bright painted ceilings in the interior. You have to keep yourself on the road for 66km from Leh city to reach here.

    Essential Information About Magnetic Hills


    Before visiting Leh and Magnetic Hills, one must get prepared for fuel, mobile connection, ATM, medical aids etc.

    Mobile Connectivity

    It is to be noted that Only Postpaid connections work in this hilly range but overall, a good mobile connectivity is noticeable here. Usually, BSNL and Airtel have one of the best coverage and can be opted to be in regular touch with family and friends.

    Medical Facilities

    Since Magnetic Hills are at a high altitude of 14000 feet, travelers may face breathing or blood pressure issues. Apart from that, any kind of emergency is always welcomed at Sonam Norbu Memorial (SNM) hospital which is well equipped with good medical services. Apart from that, many medical shops are present in the Leh market and it is always advised to purchase prescribed medicines only. Moreover, it best to get acclimatized by avoiding smoke, eating the right food and consume enough water to keep the body energy balanced.

    ATMs

    Money is a definite necessity when you travel and ATMs become right hand in the time of need. And Leh and Kargil markets include proper ATM cubicles to solve the money needs.

    Petrol Pumps

    Get your vehicles refueled for the unlimited excursion at various pump stations while moving towards Magnetic Hills. Various petrol filling stations of IndianOil and HP are present within the Leh city and the highway catching Leh-Kargil-Batalik National Highway.

    Minimum Duration for Visiting Magnetic Hills

    If you have hit Leh already, you need a minimum of 2 hours to drive towards and come back after enjoying various theories and observing the magic of Magnetic Hills.


    Frequently Asked Questions:


    1. What is Magnetic Hills in Ladakh?

    A magical patch of Earth, at a distance of 30km from Leh, shows a phenomenon opposite to the gravity. The vehicles parked at a certain point begin to move uphill by self when parked in neutral. This patch is known as Magnetic Hills as it is still believed that phenomenon occurs due to earth’s strong magnetic force that pull vehicles up.

    2. How does Magnetic Hill work?

    Well, certain theroies are backing up the phenomenon. Some believe that it is due to the magnetic pull of Earth whereas some say it’s nothing but an optical illusion. The theory of optical illusion is gaining more popularity that describes the position of terrain being mistakenly identified. It also says that terrain is marked downhill only, but average optics perceive it as an uphill.

    3. Is Magnetic Hills still an Illusion?

    To call it an end, Yes! The most recent and most believed theory of being an illusion seems quite logical. It is so as magnetic properties are not yet proved at the site but it is well proved that geographic terrains can play with the eyes really well.

    4. Should I add Magnetic Hills in my itinerary?

    Of course! One must not miss this place and observe the nature and its magic with own eyes, that is surely going to get a deceit. If you're travelling from delhi to leh, check out our detailed guide

    5. Is there really a magnetic pull?

    Well, it is not yet proved. And this is why most suitable theory lies behind Magnetic Hill is an optical illusion.

    6. What will I experience there?

    Travel 30km from Leh towards Kargil. You will find a board marking Magnetic Hill with a white box nearby on road. Park the vehicle in neutral and you will see it moving uphill by itself at a speed of 10-20km/hr. Capture or form videos the moment and rewind back in future for amazing memories. If you're planning to stay in hotels check out our guide to hotels in leh

    7. What are the other places I should visit in Ladakh?

    In the macro region of Ladakh, Leh is a prominent district from where many attractions can be visited. Apart from Magnetic Hills, one can enjoy the view of Zanskar river confluence, Zanskar Valley, Pangong Tso lake, Khardung-la pass, Nubra Valley, Spituk Gompa and Hemis National Park, Shanti Stupa and Hemis Monastery. From exploration to adventure, attractions to pilgrim center, Ladakh stands high in all.

    8. What else to do around Magnetic hills?

    Once you are finished with magic of Magnetic Hills, you can look for Hall of Fame being a proud Indian. Apart from this, Gurudwara Pather Sahib shall be considered which falls 8km from here and actually comes ahead of Magnetic Hills if you are traveling from Leh. Moreover, you can drive ahead to view Zanskar & Indus confluence and Alchi monastery. Experience the mesmerizing views around, get clicked and soak yourself with the beauty of nature. You can also go trekking in ladakh

    9. Is there any timing to visit Magnetic hills?

    Though Magnetic Hills fall on the Leh-Kargil-Batalik National Highway, yet it is best to visit the same between 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM. Moreover, plan your visit in the months of May to September as roads are blocked due to snowfall for the rest of the months.

    10. Is Magnetic Hills also known as Zero Gravity place in India?

    Well, Yeah! It is opined that Magnetic Hills defy the law of Physics, Gravity. Also, it is said this occurs due to a strong magnetic force of Mother earth.

Attractions

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Hemis Monastery

The biggest monastery in the North India is Hemis Monastery, one of the must visit attractions in Ladakh region. Set on the foothills of Indus, Hemis Monastery has 200 branches and over 1000 monks are staying there. It belongs to the red sect Brokpa of Buddhist order. Here the young Lamas are trained for the royal monasteries at Leh, Shey and Basgo.

History

Hemis Gompa came into existence 17th century and it was built by Chapgon Gyalshas and from then on the gompa was getting the royal patronage of Ladakh till now. But there is a saying that the monastery was founded by the first incarnation of Stangsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. After the missing of the head Lama in 1956, a young 12 year old boy from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh has been recognized as the head Lama of the gompa.

Structure of the monastery

The biggest monastery in the region has a surprising architecture and the building is quite appreciable. There are a lot of big statues and stupas decorated with stones and also the splendid collection of thankas. The collection of thankas is believed to be the largest and it would be shown to the public once in 11 years.

Location: Hemis Village is located 43 km south of Leh town and it is very easy to reach the monastery by bus or jeep.

Timing: 08:00 am to 01:00 pm and 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm

Entry fee: INR 100

Highlight: Hemis Festival is the prime attraction at the monastery which celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. The tenth day of the Tibetan lunar month every 12th year is the date of festival.