A weekend at magical Fringe Ford : a beautiful homestay nestled amongst the hills in Wayanad.
It’s one of those magical places you go to and don’t want to come back. At least, I didn’t.
The road to Fringe Ford is a long and winding one. Around 5 kms through coffee plantations to your right and hills to the left. It goes on and on and you start peering around every corner to catch sight of your destination. Except that it’s where you least expect it. Down below, between the clearing of the tall trees, you get a teasing glimpse of a cottage sitting pretty in the centre, surrounded by green all around.
This is Fringe Ford : â€œGet lost where no one’s gonna know. No Where to rush, but everywhere to go. No stress, no traffic, no road.â€ Just perfect.
Just you and beautiful lush forest around you, the birds flying around everywhere and the occasional jungle call – are you in paradise?
The name Fringe Ford was given by an Englishman who bought the land and built it into a plantation. After that it changed hands a few times till it was bought by Ahmed, a naturalist, who let the land go back to the forest. The 520 acre property shares its property with the wildlife sanctuaries of Wayanad and Tholpaty. It’s no wonder then that you take a few steps out of the property and you’re into the thick of the jungle already.
The bungalow is low roofed, with Mangalore tiles and cosily done up. The rooms have huge windows that give you a great view of the scenery around. And even the bathrooms have long windows : just in case there’s a wild cat passing by that you don’t want to miss during your daily ablutions 🙂
The food : I don’t even want to get started! Short of proposing to the 70ish year old chef, I could have done anything to stay there forever! Delicious curries, biryani, ghee rice, chicken and the most exotic of them all : a local fern that is chopped into a most yummy sabji : I was in culinary paradise! Every meal was looked forward to with great anticipation and I possibly ate about 3 times my usual capacity (which is already quite great :-)!
We walked around quite a bit. Once, when we felt really guilty about binging so much, we even went for a run down the winding road. We went into the forest, spotting birds, insects, wildlife and possible leopard droppings. And at the end of the walk, the green foliage gave way to a gushing waterfall. We had to marvel at nature’s brilliant design. You walk, walk, walk and then suddenly, in the path – there’s a waterfall! Of course, it was hard to resist the cool waters gushing over the rocks and into the path.
The colours of the forest are vivid and beautiful and there’s so much to stop and gaze at that even a 5 km walk can take you a few hours. The way the sun lights up the leaves, the tiny but multi-hued insects on the forest floor, the wild mushrooms celebrating their existence in the world and the trees towering up into the sky. Every little thing elicits wonder and awe – especially here inside the forest where you get a glimpse of the real raw beauty of nature.
There are many other treks : from the easy to the hard. If you’re not feeling lazy enough, the hosts will gladly take you on these walks.
A word of warning: the folks at Fringe Ford spoil you terribly. There’s always tea, nimboo paani and other treats in between meals, as if they weren’t large enough. And then you can also lounge around in the beautiful courtyard, below the mango tree and watch the hills in the distance (sometimes you can see wild animals climbing up and down the slopes), grab two winks or catch up on some reading.
The only creatures I kept a little clear of were the ducks that seemed to be very possessive about their territory and advanced rather dangerously when I ventured near. I scampered out of the way quickly and maintained safe distance thereafter.
I can see you already asking for details, so here they are:
The nearest cities to Fringe Ford are Thalassery (60 km) and Cannore (75 km)
If you’re going by road, from Mysore, you head towards Gundalpet : Sultan Bathery : Meenangadi : Mananthvadi : Talapoya to Fringe Ford. The drive time is around 6 hours from Bangalore.
Do email Santosh for more details / bookings and you can also give him my reference.
The tariff is Rs 2650 per person includes 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner, tea and snacks.
The tariff includes pick-up from Talapoya (Mass nursery). There are no extra charge for guides accompanying on treks in the property. For sight seeing trips outside the property there are minimum charges.
Website: Visit Fringe Ford
When to go: Except during the rainy season. We went in February and the weather was great : clear blue skies, warm days and cool nights. And you can still go during the rains, but you won’t have much to do except eat and watch the rain : which in my book is not a bad option either!
Album: Paradise Found! Fringe Ford