What makes Kerala, Ahmedabad stand out in TIME’s list of world’s greatest places of 2022?

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Indian city Ahmedabad and the state of Kerala have been mentioned in TIME magazine’s list of world’s greatest places of 2022. In an article dated July 12, 2022, TIME wrote, “To compile this list of the World’s Greatest Places, the top spots to visit this year, TIME solicited nominations of places from our international network of correspondents and contributors, with an eye toward those offering new and exciting experiences.”

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Other places which find a mention among the “50 extraordinary destinations to explore” around the world, are: Ras Al Khaimah, UAE; Park City, Utah; Seoul; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; The Arctic; Valencia, Spain; Trans Bhutan Trail, Bhutan; International Space Station; Bogota; Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia; Istanbul and Kigali, Rwanda.

The publication also wrote, “As persistent as the challenges of life in 2022 is the hope that understanding and human connection can be found through travel. So, with much of the global population now vaccinated against COVID-19, world travellers are again hitting the road—and the skies.”

In the article, the southern Indian state of Kerala has been called an “ecotourism hot spot”. It is often hailed as ‘God’s own country’ for its lush green cover, famous backwaters, temples, food, and cultural offerings.

According to keralatourism.org, the top tourist attractions in the state are:

* Alappuzha, which is referred to as the Venice of the East. It is famous for its boat races, backwaters, beaches and coir industry. The beach here is also a popular picnic spot.

* The Kuruvadweep or the Kuruva Island, which is a “cluster of islets” in Kabini River in Wayanad. It is famous for boat rides on bamboo rafts.

* The historic Bekal Fort, which is the “best preserved Fort” in the state, located next to a beach. Built in the 17th century, it is shaped like a giant keyhole.

* The Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad, which is also called ‘Sairandhrivanam’ after Sairandhri — the secret identity assumed by Draupadi/Panchali — in the Mahabharat, when she spent her time in exile here, hiding from the Kauravas along with her five Pandava husbands.

* The Koyikkal Palace, which was built for Umayamma Rani of the Venad Royal Family between 1677 and 1684, is also a famous attraction here. Today, it is a folklore and numismatics museum.

* The Ranipuram hills, which are perfect for picnics and to click photographs. It is a scenic spot located in Kasaragod — about 750 m above sea level — and one can even come across an occasional herd of elephants if they are lucky.

When it comes to Ahmedabad, TIME hailed “India’s first UNESCO World Heritage City” as a place for “higher learning”. It mentioned landmarks like the Gandhi Ashram — which “sits on 36 acres on the banks of the Sabarmati River” — along with Gujarat Science City, which is a “sprawling entertainment center and theme park” that unveiled “three major attractions last year, including a 20-acre nature park to educate the public on local flora as well as provide new spaces for playing chess and practicing yoga”.

It stated that there is also a “new interactive robot gallery that celebrates innovation in robotics and features a towering replica of a Transformer”, along with the fact that Science City’s new aquarium “showcases aquatic species from around the globe” and is now India’s largest.

The article mentioned the “vibrant nine-day celebration” of Navratri as well, which invokes the nine distinct avatars of Goddess Durga every year.

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