Mysterious Places in India explained by Science

Dec 28, 2016 | Science

For centuries, India has mystified and intrigued people all over the world. If her people, culture, beliefs and history were not enigmatic enough, India has also been endowed with quite a few mysterious places that’ll leave you in awe and wonder. However, anything that’s unusual or weird remains a mystery only until it can be logically and rationally explained. In this article, we will explore some of these weird and mysterious places in India and demystify their mysteries. If you want to catch a break from the monotony of everyday life, you should visit these unusual places and be amazed.

Weird & Mysterious Places in India Explained Scientifically

Magnetic Hills (Leh, Himachal Pradesh)

Mystery: Situated at an altitude of 3500m, Leh has a dominantly mountainous landscape. Amidst this landscape lies Magnetic Hill, the venue of a rather interesting mystery. Here, vehicles appear to travel up the hill on their own without the engine running!

Explanation: The place is what is known as a gravity hill. A gravity hill is a place where the layout of the surrounding land creates an optical illusion that makes a slight downhill slope appear to be an uphill slope. So is the case with Magnetic Hill, where the surrounding area and slopes create the illusion that vehicles are rolling ‘uphill’ when they are actually going downhill. Similar gravity hills also exist in other countries such as United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland.

Mysterious places in India: Magnetic Hills, Leh, Himachal Pradesh

Musical Pillars (Vittala Temple, Hampi)

Mystery: Hampi is a town located in Karnataka known for its many temples and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vittala Temple is among the most famous of its temples. One of the striking features of the Vittala Temple are its 56 musical pillars, constructed as 7 minor pillars around a main pillar and representing a musical instrument. When slightly tapped, these pillars produce the 7 musical notes of the representative instrument! The sound quality differs based on whether the pillars represent a wind, string or percussion instrument.

Explanation: These pillars represent the sculptural and musical ingenuity of their sculptors. The sound produced is due to resonance in the rocks of the pillars. The rocks are resonant because of the presence of metallic ores and large amount of silica in them. The pillars themselves are hollow, a fact verified by the British during the Colonial rule in India when they cut two pillars to check if there was anything inside the pillars that was producing the sound!

Weird places in India: Musical Pillars, Hampi

Aleya Ghost Lights (River swamps, West Bengal) & Chir Batti (Rann of Kutch, Gujarat)

Mystery: Aleya (or marsh ghost-light) is the name given to the strange light phenomena that occurs over marshes in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Resembling flickering lamps, the lights seem to recede when approached! Since following these lights can make people lose their bearings and even lead to drowning, legend has it that these lights represented ghosts of fishermen who died fishing and if followed, will lead to your doom. Chir Batti is another such light phenomenon that occurs on dark nights in Banni grasslands in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat where hovering lights change colors and appear to be playing hide and seek with people. Chir Batti, literally translated, means “ghost light”.

Explanation: This strange light phenomenon, also called ignis fatuus (Latin for “foolish fire”), is hypothesized to be caused by oxidation of phosphine, diphosphane and methane produced by organic decay in the swamps. These compounds can cause photon emissions and since phosphine and diphosphane spontaneously ignite on contact with oxygen in air, even small quantities, combined with methane, can create these “fires” or cold flames. Another proposed reason for this phenomenon is the natural chemiluminescence of phosphine.

Unusual places to visit in India: Aleya
Unusual places to visit in India: Chir Batti

The Twin Town (Kodinhi, Kerala)

Mystery: Kodinhi is a village in Kerala that is home to around 2000 families. What brought Kodinhi into international spotlight is the unusually large number of twin births in the village. Consider this: there are about 250 twin pairs in just this small population of 2000+ families! What makes it even more peculiar is that India has one of the lowest twinning rates in the world. According to locals, the oldest known twin pair was born in 1949 and surprisingly, the number of twin births has been increasing over the years!

Explanation: The reason for this unusually high number of twin births is still not fully known. Doctors have speculated that it can be attributed to their eating and drinking habits as well as chemicals present in the water in the region. However, no direct relationship has yet been established between the dietary patterns and the twin births. While research is still ongoing, this phenomenon of large number of twin births has also been observed in the towns of Igbo-Ora in Nigeria and Cândido Godói in Brazil.

Unusual places to visit in India: Twin Town

Mass Bird Suicide (Jatinga, Assam)

Mystery: Jatinga is a village located in Assam, about 330km south of the state capital, Guwahati. The village is famous for the phenomenon of birds committing “suicide” every year towards the end of monsoons in the months of September and October. Migratory birds ram into buildings, trees and bamboo poles and lose their life. Remarkably, this phenomenon is not confined to a single species with egrets, herons, kingfishers, hill partridges and green pigeons being some of the bird species that fall to their deaths here.

Explanation: This phenomenon generally occurs on moonless, foggy nights at the end of the monsoon months. The fog and high velocity winds disorient the birds, who then fly towards the lights of the village for refuge and end up hitting obstacles in their paths such as bamboo poles, walls and trees. It is also believed that some of these poles are intentionally placed to kill these birds and are not really “suicides”. Conservation groups and wildlife officials have taken steps to spread awareness among the villagers and the number of bird deaths has declined gradually over the last few years.

Mysterious places to visit in India: Mass Bird Suicide, Assam

Blood Rain (Kottayam and Idukki, Kerala)

Mystery: In 2001, for two months during the monsoons from 25th July to 23rd September, the Kottayam and Idukki districts experienced sporadic, heavy downpours of red-colored rain, which caused pink stains on clothes and buildings. In some places, yellow, green and black rain were also reported. The absence of any explanation for the ‘blood rain’ at the time led many to believe that alien cells had landed on Earth. The blood rain occurred again recently in 2012.

Explanation: Initially, researchers thought that the likely cause of the blood rain was an exploding meteor. However, this could not be the case since the debris from a meteor could not have been unaffected by winds and continued to fall in the same region. Further research suggested that the red color was because of the presence of a large number of spores of lichen-forming alga. This algae species grows abundantly on tree barks and damp soil and their strong orange color masks the green of chlorophyll from trees. The heavy rains preceding the ‘blood rains’ possibly led to the widespread growth of lichens, which in turn gave rise to the large quantities of spores in the atmosphere. There are many other hypotheses to explain this phenomenon including volcanic material and cosmic ancestry which are yet to be proven.

Weird places to visit in India: Blood Rains, Kerala