Ask any travel agent, globe-trotter or gap-year student: The Golden Temple in Amritsar, north India, is both a site of pilgrimage for Sikhs and a must-see on any tourists’ Indian itinerary.
But India’s most famous foreign tourist, U.S. President Barack Obama, who will tour the country next month, may have to forego his visit.
It was supposed to be Obama’s only religious appointment on the 4-day trip to India, but a politically-sensitive row over the required headwear for the temple threatens to derail his plans.
According to local media reports, the President’s team has balked at the idea of Obama wearing a headscarf or skullcap — required for any visitor to the holy site — due to fears it may feed rumours circulating about his alleged Muslim beliefs.
The sight of droves of foreign tourists sporting colourful headscarves, most provided by the Temple, is as much a part of the dazzling experience as the temple itself.