A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia (particularly in India), but also in Africa (albeit rarely), for towns founded by European colonialists as refuges from the summer heat and, as Dale Kennedy observes about the Indian context, "the hill station ... was seen as an exclusive British preserve: here it was possible to render the Indian into an outsider". In India, which has the largest number of hill stations, most are situated at an altitude of approximately 1,000 to 2,500 metres (3,300 to 8,200 ft).
Nandi Hills is a hill station in Karnataka, India which was developed by the Ganga Dynasty in 11th century. It was also used by Tipu Sultan (1751 - 1799) as a summer retreat.
Hill stations in British India were established for a variety of reasons. One of the first reasons in the early 1800s, was for the place to act as a sanitorium for the ailing family members of British officials. After the rebellion of 1857, the British "sought further distance from what they saw as a disease-ridden land by [escaping] to the Himalayas in the north". Other factors included anxieties about the dangers of life in India, among them "fear of degeneration brought on by too long residence in a debilitating land". The hill stations were meant to reproduce the home country, illustrated in Lord Lytton's statement about Ootacamund in the 1870s as having "such beautiful English rain, such delicious English mud." Shimla was officially made the "summer capital of India" in the 1860s and hill stations "served as vital centres of political and military power, especially after the 1857 revolt."
As noted by Indian historian Vinay Lal, hill stations in India also served "as spaces for the colonial structuring of a segregational and ontological divide between Indians and Europeans, and as institutional sites of imperial power."  William Dalrymple wrote that "The viceroy was the spider at the heart of Simla's web: From his chambers in Viceregal Lodge, he pulled the strings of an empire that stretched from Rangoon in the east to Aden in the west." Meanwhile Judith T Kenny observed that "the hill station as a landscape type tied to nineteenth-century discourses of imperialism and climate. Both discourses serve as evidence of a belief in racial difference and, thereby, the imperial hill station reflected and reinforced a framework of meaning that influenced European views of the non-western world in general." The historian of Himalayan cultures Shekhar Pathak speaking about the development of Hill Stations like Mussoorie noted that “the needs of this (European) elite created colonies in Dehradun of Indians to cater to them." This "exclusive, clean, and secure social space – known as an enclave – for white Europeans ... evolved to become the seats of government and foci of elite social activity", and created racial distinctions which perpetuated British colonial power and oppression as Nandini Bhattacharya notes. Dale Kennedy observed that "the hill station, then, was seen as an exclusive British preserve: here it was possible to render the Indian into an outsider".
Kennedy, following Monika Bührlein, identifies three stages in the evolution of hill stations in India: high refuge, high refuge to hill station, and hill station to town. The first settlements started in the 1820s, primarily as sanitoria. In the 1840s and 1850s, there was a wave of new hill stations, with the main impetus being "places to rest and recuperate from the arduous life on the plains". In the second half of the 19th century, there was a period of consolidation with few new hill stations. In the final phase, "hill stations reached their zenith in the late nineteenth century. The political importance of the official stations was underscored by the inauguration of large and costly public-building projects.": 14
Most hill stations, listed by region:
[clarification needed]
Hundreds of hill stations are located in India. Nandi Hills is a hill station in Karnataka, India which was developed by Ganga Dynasty in 11th century. It was also used by Tipu Sultan (1751 - 1799) as a summer retreat. The most popular hill stations in India include:
Main article: List of hill stations in Malaysia
See also: Category:Hill stations in Myanmar
Main article: List of hill stations in Pakistan
See also: Category:Hill stations in Sri Lanka
|Booknotes interview with Barbara Crossette on The Great Hill Stations of Asia, August 23, 1998, C-SPAN|