||Contains encyclopedic information. Includes geography of Mithila (Bihar and neighboring states), cultural history, politics, education system, iconography, taxation theories, organization of army, theories on proper causes for war, diplomacy, local laws, building public projects, water distribution methods, trees and plants, medicine, Vastu Shastra (architecture), gemology, grammar, metrics, poetry, food, rituals and numerous other topics.
||The most studied and popular of the Puranas, telling of Vishnu’s Avatars, and of Vaishnavism. It contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.Numerous inconsistent versions of this text and historical manuscripts exist, in many Indian languages. Influential and elaborated during Bhakti movement.
||Sometimes also called Adi Purana, because many Mahapuranas lists put it first of 18. The text has 245 chapters, shares many passages with Vishnu, Vayu, Markendeya Puranas, and with the Mahabharata. Includes mythology, theory of war, art work in temples, and other cultural topics. Describes holy places in Odisha, and weaves themes of Vishnu and Shiva, but hardly any mention of deity Brahma despite the title.
||One of the earliest composed Puranas, it contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties. Includes Lalita Sahasranamam, law codes, system of governance, administration, diplomacy, trade, ethics. Old manuscripts of Brahmanda Purana have been found in the Hindu literature collections of Bali, Indonesia.
||Discusses Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Devis, Vishnu, Krishna and Radha. Primarily mythology, love and seduction stories of gods and goddesses. Mentions geography and rivers such as Ganga to Kaveri.
||An encyclopedia of diverse topics. Primarily about Vishnu, but praises all gods. Describes how Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma collaborate. Many chapters are a dialogue between Vishnu and the bird-vehicle Garuda. Cosmology, Describes cosmology, relationship between gods. Discusses ethics, what are crimes, good verses evil, various schools of Hindu philosophies, the theory of Yoga, the theory of “heaven and hell” with “karma and rebirth”, includes Upanishadic discussion of self-knowledge as a means of moksha. Includes chapters on rivers, geography of Bharat (India) and other nations on earth, types of minerals and stones, testing methods for stones for their quality, various diseases and their symptoms, various medicines, aphrodisiacs, prophylactics, Hindu calendar and its basis, astronomy, moon, planets, astrology, architecture, building home, essential features of a temple, rites of passage, virtues such as compassion, charity and gift making, economy, thrift, duties of a king, politics, state officials and their roles and how to appointment them, genre of literature, rules of grammar, and other topics. The final chapters discuss how to practice Yoga (Samkhya and Advaita types), personal development and the benefits of self-knowledge.
||Is the second of ten major avatars of Lord Vishnu.
||Discusses Lingam, symbol of Shiva, and origin of the universe. It also contains many stories of Lingam, one of which entails how Agni Lingam solved a dispute between Vishnu and Brahma.
||Describes Vindhya Range and western India. Probably composed in the valleys of Narmada and Tapti rivers, in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Named after sage Markandeya, a student of Brahma. Contains chapters on dharma and on Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Purana includes Devi Mahatmyam of Shaktism.
||An encyclopedia of diverse topics. Narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of Vishnu. Likely composed in west India, by people aware of geographical details of the Narmada river. Includes legends about Brahma and Saraswati. It also contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.
||Also called Naradiya Purana. Discusses the four Vedas and the six Vedangas. Dedicates one chapter each, from Chapters 92 to 109, to summarize the other 17 Maha Puranas and itself. Lists major rivers of India and places of pilgrimage, and a short tour guide for each. Includes discussion of various philosophies, soteriology, planets, astronomy, myths and characteristics of major deities including Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi and others.
||A large compilation of diverse topics. The north Indian manuscripts of Padma Purana are very different than south Indian versions, and the various recensions in both groups in different languages (Devanagari and Bengali, for example) show major inconsistencies. Describes cosmology, the world and nature of life from the perspective of Vishnu. Discusses festivals, numerous legends, geography of rivers and regions from northwest India to Bengal to the kingdom of Tripura, major sages of India, various Avatars of Vishnu and his cooperation with Shiva, the story of Rama-Sita that is different than the Hindu epic Ramayana. Like Skanda Purana, it is a detailed treatise on travel and pilgrimage centers in India.
||Discusses Shiva, and stories about him.
||Describes the birth of Skanda (or Karthikeya), son of Shiva. The longest Purana, it is an extraordinarily meticulous pilgrimage guide, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India, with related legends, parables, hymns and stories. Many untraced quotes are attributed to this text.
||Describes North India, particularly Himalayan foothills region.
||Primarily Vishnu-related worship manual, with large Mahatmya sections or travel guide to Mathura and Nepal. Presentation focuses on Varaha as incarnation of Narayana, but rarely uses the terms Krishna or Vasudeva. Many illustrations also involve Shiva and Durga.
||Possibly the oldest of all Maha Puranas. Some medieval Indian texts call it Vayaviya Purana. Mentioned and studied by Al Biruni, the 11th century Persian visitor to India. Praises Shiva. Discusses rituals, family life, and life stages of a human being. The content in Vayu Purana is also found in Markandeya Purana. Describes south India, particularly modern Telangana and Andhra Pradesh regions. It contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties.
||One of the most studied and circulated Puranas, it also contains a controversial genealogical details of various dynasties. Better preserved after the 17th century, but exists in inconsistent versions, more ancient pre-15th century versions are very different from modern versions, with some versions discussing Buddhism and Jainism. Some chapters likely composed in Kashmir and Punjab region of South Asia. A Vaishnavism text, focussed on Vishnu.