Gangalamurti (Kankalamurthi), is the form of Lord Shiva. As the Lord Shiva is known as the destroyer, his immense power to destroy the unrest and evil forces in the human race is highlighted in this form Lord Shiva. He is not only known as the destructor of the evil forces in the human race, but also the destructor of entire universe if at all the entire System is going in the wrong direction, without being righteous, without obeying the self Dharma and being away from the Truth.
In the form of Gangalamurti, Lord Shiva dances in high spirits, wearing the bones, skulls and other pieces of skeletal parts of all the beings. This implies he is just revealing the truth behind the outward appearance of the world and he is signifying the actual state of the being after the ultimate liberation. This might be totally unacceptable by all the beings on the earth, supporting the fact that the Truth remains hard to digest.
Ganggalamurti’s presence is discussed at the time of destruction of whole System, where all the creatures are reduced to the diminished forms and get surrendered to him. Lord Shiva reduces everything to a state where there will be nothing counted on this earth except the deeds and Karma of all the beings. Lord Shiva will then form a new Creation of the creatures, assigning them their roles based on the deeds and Karma.
However, Ganggalamurti is the form of Lord Shiva, which was rarely worshipped by even Shaivites, as his existence and appearance are not normal.
As written by R.HARISHANKAR…
Kankala-murti is a form of Lord Shiva, also known as Kankala, Lord who wears skeleton garlands, and he is also worshipped as Kankala-Bhairava, by the devotees of Lord Shiva. He appears in a fierce form, and his image can be found in some temples in South India. Once,Lord Shiva haddefeated Lord Vishvaksena, the army general of Lord Vishnu, in the form of Kankala-murti. He contains four hands with divine weapons in his hands, and he is always followed by his beloved divine attendants.
Kankalamurti is an aspect of Kala Bhairava, and he is having the skull in his hand, due to the sin of beheading Lord Brahma. In order to get rid from his curse, Bhairava took the form of Kankalamurti, and began to wander in the world by seeking alms. His consort Ma Parvati, took the form of Annapurani Devi, and offered food in his skull bowl, and as a result, Lord Shiva was relieved from the curse.
Kankalamurti is depicted with a matted hair, and contains the moon on his head. He also wore snakes on his neck, and looks like a great Siddha Purusha. Kankalamurti contains a red body and he has three eyes. He holds the Vedas in his hands, and he always looks very cheerful, and used to dance with joy along with his ghost attendants.
Kankalamurti sculpture can be found in the Shiva Temple at Darasuram, and his various other forms can also be found. In the famous Kachaleeswarar Temple situated in Armenian Street, Parrys, we can find lot of Shiva Avatar pictures, and in those pictures, proper explanations about the various avatars are also mentioned.
In some pictures of Kankalamurti, we can find that some demi gods clean the Kankalamurti’s feet, and sing his praises and showering him with flowers. And all these lovely pictures can be found in the Suchindram, Thirumarugal and Nageswaraswamy Temple.
Kankalamurti and Bhikshatana are considered as similar deities, but their forms are different. In the tower of Chidambaram Temple in Tamil Nadu, we can find the nice sculptures of Kankalamurti, a form of Bhairava, Bhikshatana, a form of Bhairava, Somaskanda, in this form, Lord Shiva present along with Lord Skanda and his consort Ma Parvati, and Kalyanasundara, in this form, Lord Shiva appears as a gentle bridegroom along with bride Ma Parvati.