Suspended from the edge, a sinuous snake slithers, its movement frozen forever in stone as it spreads its hood in anticipation.
Fanning five splendid and distinct heads, it gazes with interest at the far horizon.
A sentinel watching the changing landscape, its only armour is a necklace, hewn in stone. From one block of hard rock, are carved two links of stone that can never separate. Stone in stone, strength within strength, it watches, alive with expectation.
Poetry in stone or a carved mystery portending the future, its obscure message ignites the imagination. One can only stand under the hood, look up and marvel at the remnants of the past.
The temple studs the length of the river like a proud pendant dangling from an intricate necklace. The stone links, unlike a necklace, threaten to test the resilience of the snake. But it holds on, its strength magnified a thousandfold, over the years.
A little known monument, fame has evaded it, and the years roll by, without a ripple.
Embedded in sand periodically, the temple is unearthed again. Resurfacing for air, never bending, never relenting, the snake holds its own in an ever-changing world.
Bequeathed to us by the past, through the centuries, it will be one of the many things we leave behind for a future of amazing discovery.
Maybe then, if we are lucky enough, stone shall speak in a human tongue, and we shall listen, entranced.
*Photograph of the Vaidyeshwara temple, at Talakadu, on the banks of the river Cauvery, near Mysore, in Karnataka, India. Hewn from a single rock, the interlinked chain garlands the five-headed snake.