They are also the stronghold of some of the most aggressive and grasping priests I've ever heard of. My sister and my colleague D both had experiences that left them scarred . Their first reaction when I told them of my planned trip was 'Beware of the Pandas!'. Not the sneezing bears, the priests.
I wanted to see the temples though, and off I went to the Lingaraj Temple with camera in hand. Only to be told that I was not allowed to take my camera or cellphone into the temple. 'Oh, then I don't need to enter', I said gaily and turned around looking for a vantage point.
The good news is, that there IS a specially constructed vantage point for untouchables, unbelievers, and Prime ministers- the temple is famous for not letting Indira Gandhi in. So if you turn left from the main gate (with your back to it) and follow the boundary wall, and pass the big Pipal tree, you come across a flight of steep stairs that allow you to peek over the compound wall. These photos were taken from there. And the sky was not that colour..I coloured it in so that you could see the spire properly.
The better news is that the surroundings are atleast as interesting as the temple itself. Hairy AC you've probably booked appointments with. There is also interesting work going on. I stubbed my toe against this scary thing:
Which turned out to be part of a wheel being constructed for a chariot for the gods.