You’re probably sold on making the trip to Fringe Ford because of its unique remote plantation lacation. And just about nothing you read here will ever prepare you for your first early morning mist-trapped, breath-taking view of the hills.

The Wyanad range undulates at 700 to 2100 metres above sea level, and sports a lavish collection of trees, so that your view is of a palette of olive and teal, emerald and sapphire, with a sudden brilliant crimson tree thrown in for effect, or a startling ochre cutting across a slope of grass. Clamber into the forest, on one of its many trails, and you’re walking into the looking glass. This is a world of vines dropping from above, thick stalks and leafy branches, trees that have outlived your great-grandmother, twisting roots rising up from the ground, and dark nooks through which two eyes follow you. Or is that your imagination? But suddenly, a shaft of sunlight cuts through the foliage, touching the green with gold, and you sigh at the unbelievable beauty of the place.

Almost on cue, the tinkle of water starts, and you turn a corner to see a fresh natural waterfall. 27 streams, some of them perennial, criss-cross the property, and 2 waterfalls are just a walk away. The Nilgiri range traps the generous doses of rainfall that it gets, and tunnels it into perennial streams that run throughout the year. Kabini, the tributary of the river Cauvery, begins its journey from Fringe Ford, as well.

Nestled into the blue mountains, the Nilgiris, shoulder to shoulder with the great wildlife reserves of the South, a short drive away from the getaways of Coorg, Ooty and Kerala’s coastline, this land of the marshes (Wyanad takes its name from Wayals, or marshland), is the easiest way to enter paradise without leaving this planet.