Saga’s new 13-night Empires of the South escorted journey from the South East coast to South West coast of India starts in Mahabalipuram with a two-night stay at the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Hotel (4Q).
Guests can immediately immerse themselves in culture with visits to temples and cave sanctuaries or take an optional tour to fascinating Puducherry, formerly part of French India and known as the French Riveria of the East.
Fly to Bengaluru to spend two nights at the Hotel Regaalis Mysore (4Q+). Relax or explore the bustling flower and vegetable market, the Srirangapatnam Fort and the magnificent Palace of the Maharaja. Make time to wander through Sri Jayacharmarajendra Art Gallery or head to the temple of Chamudeshwari in the Chamundi Hills.
Travel on to Hassan, stopping at the Jain shrine at Shravanabelgola en route to admire the 18m statue of Lord Gomateshwara on Vindhyagiri Hill. Stay at the Hoysala Village Resort (3Q+) for a two-night stay for excursions to the temples at Belur and Halebid. Belur flourished under the Hoysala Kings 800 years ago and Chennakesava Temple is their legacy. In Halebid visit Hoysalesvara, the sister temple dedicated to Shiva.
Travel north to Hampi, in the centre of Karnataka state, and stay two nights at the Hyatt Place Hampi (4Q+). Spend a day at the Hampi ruins, once the magnificent capital of the Vijayanagar kingdom and stop at Anegundi village to learn more about life in rural India.
In Hubli, explore the Hindu temples at Pattadakal and visit the sandstone cave temples that make up Badami caves. Stay overnight at The Taj Gateway Hotel Lakeside Hubli (4Q+).
Journey through the majestic Western Ghats to Goa and spend the last three nights at the Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort and Casino (4Q+) in Varca. Relax on the sun-kissed beach to reflect on the wonderful sights and experience of Southern India or join an optional sightseeing tour of Old Goa.
Return from Mumbai to Heathrow or extend the holiday with a further four nights at the Zuri White Sands from £349 half board.
13 nights from £2099 (includes one overnight flight) departing Heathrow to Chennai from January to April 2015.
Price includes VIP door-to-door service or a domestic flight, return flights and transfers, all accommodation, Saga tour manager, porterage, 13 breakfasts, 12 dinners, travel insurance and cancellation cover and tourist visa. Single room supplement £499, subject to availability.
Call free on 0800 414 383 or visit saga.co.uk/india
Editors: Saga Holidays is winner of nine British Travel Awards including Best Southern Asia Holidays, Best Singles Holidays and Best Escorted Journeys.