20 April 2016, 01:00
Saga releases new 22-night Grand Tour of South India
• Year of Culture 2017 to highlight cultural ties
• 22 nights from £2,399 including flights
• Comprehensive tour of South India visiting all the key sites a first time visitor would want to see
The Prince and Princess of Cambridge’s tour of India brings the subcontinent into the spotlight as preparations get under way to mark India’s 70th year of independence in 2017.
A year-long festival of events will celebrate the vibrant history and cultural ties between India and the UK.
Saga enters the spirit of the Year of Culture 2017 with a new 22-night ‘South India: A Grand Tour’ the itinerary includes all the key sites a first time visitor to Southern Indian would want to see, exploring ancient temples, royal palaces and bustling cities, as well as the calm of cave sanctuaries and a cruise on the backwaters of Kerala.
A train journey to Coimbatore, en route to visit tea plantations, and watching for wildlife in the Cardamom Hills are also included in this exciting tour from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea.
There is also a scenic journey to Kumarakom for a three-night stay at the Coconut Lagoon, a heritage hotel on the shores of beautiful Lake Vembanad.
Guests stay in 3Q and 4Q accommodation throughout the tour, including a romantic hill station, and highlights include:
• City tour of Chennai
• The monuments of Mahabalipuram
• Visiting Auroville Ashram
• Tour of historic Puducherry
• Sightseeing in Thanjavur and the Brahadeeswarar Temple
• Viewing the Rock Fort at Trichy Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, India's largest Hindu Temple
• Madurai's flower market and temple
• Walk in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and a spice garden
• Full-day cruise on Keralan backwaters by houseboat
• Visit to a Keralan village Kumarakom village to see the paddy fields, coconut groves and meet fishermen
• A Kathakali dance performance
• Cochin's Old City, where Chinese fishing nets, strung out along the peninsula
• A train ride through a tea plantation in the Nilgiri Hills
• Time in Bandipur National Park to look for elephant, sambar and barking deer
• Mysore's palaces, temples and gardens
• Visit to Siriangapatna Fort
• Chamundi Hill, where pilgrims climb 1,000 steps to Chamudeshwari Temple
• Optional visit to Silk City to watch artisans weave silk on hand looms
A five-night post-holiday extension at The Zuri White Sands, Goa Resort and Casino (4Q), in southern Goa, is also available.
For details call free on 0800 414 383 or visit saga.co.uk/India
22 nights from £2,399 departing London Heathrow on October 3, 2016, January 9, 23, February 20, March 6, April 10, May 15 and June 15, 2017. Price includes VIP door-to-door chauffeur service, return flights, airport taxes, accommodation, most meals (21 breakfasts and 21 dinners plus three lunches, porterage, tour manager, tourist visa for full British Citizens resident in the UK, optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights or a discount if passenger has own insurance.
India’s 70th anniversary of Independence is on August 15, 2017. The India-UK Year of Culture will be a curated programme that gives audiences in India and the UK access to art, music, theatre, design, performing arts, film and literature. Details at www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-2017-uk-india-year-of-culture
Saga Holidays is the winner of 16 Gold British Travel Awards 2015 including Best for All-Inclusive Holidays. Saga Holidays offer a variety of River Cruises, Long-Haul, European and UK destinations, exclusively available for people aged 50 and over.