What Caused The Hindu Milk Miracle?

On September 21, 1995, a Hindu worshipper made an offering of milk to a statue of the god Ganesha at temple in New Delhi. The milk was apparently "accepted" by the statue, as it visibly disappeared when held up to the idol's trunk. This phenomenon sparked rumors of a miracle, and people in Hindu temples across the globe soon made their own milk offerings, gasping in wonder when the statues "drank." However, scientists were quick to point out that there was nothing supernatural at play. Because the statues were made of porous ceramics, the milk (and any other liquid, for that matter) would move up through the material through capillary action. Capillary action is the tendency of liquids to seemingly defy gravity by rising into narrow openings, and it occurs due to intermolecular forces between the liquid and the material.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. In September of 1995, statues of the Hindu deity Ganesha appeared to "drink" offerings of milk. 00:18

  2. Watch a statue of Ganesha appear to accept an offering of milk: 01:10

  3. Scientists have theorized that the porous material of Ganesha statues prompted capillary action to occur, resulting in the disappearance of milk offerings. 02:11

Written by Curiosity Staff January 29, 2016

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