Purans are the sacred ancient literature about the history of the Hindu religion. They are great sources of knowledge about the concept of the Hindu religion. These texts are written in the Sanskrit language. These texts are dedicated to the Hindu gods such as Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. These texts contain topics such as the beginning of the universe from the cosmic egg, customs, prayers, rules, tales, rituals, grammar, astronomy, geneology, pilgrimages, etc. These holy books also contain stories of the devotees of God. There are 18 Puranas in the Hindu religion.
1. Shiv Mahapuran is a religious text dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The Story of Shiv Mahapuran was preached by the sage Suta Ji to the eighty-eight thousand sages in the Naimisharanya pilgrimage. It has 24, 000 shlokas and seven Sanhitas. It contains the tales of Shiva and Shakti. It describes how the Shiv Lingam appeared. It also tells about different incarnations of Lord Shiva. It describes the ways of the devotion of Lord Shiva and things related to Lord Shiva and their benefits are also mentioned in this book. It also discusses the appearance of twelve Jyotirlingas.
2. Vishnu Puran is a religious text dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu. It is a collection of stories about the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. It also contains details of the devotees of Lord Vishnu. It tells about the origin of the universe and how the trinity of gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh were appeared. According to Vishnu Puran, the whole universe was created by the body of Lord Vishnu.
3. Skanda Puran is the largest Puran in the Hindu religion. Skanda is another name of the Hindu god of war Kartikeya. The text contains information about ancient practices, pilgrimages, legends, hymns, prayers and gods. It contains 81, 000 verses and is divided into seven parts.
4. Garuda Puran contains the concept of the death and rebirth. Garuda Puran tells the details of hell and heaven, post-death rituals and soul’s journey and punishments of the bad karmas in the Hindu religion.
5. Markandeya Puran is an ancient Sanskrit text in the Hindu religion. Markandeya is the name of a Sage. This Holy text contains a range of topics such as religious practices done by the sages, prayers and the importance of Devi and Shiva. This book contains the stories of devotees of Lord Shiva.
6. Matasaya Puran Describes the details of the fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Matasaya means fish. Lord Vishnu has taken the incarnation of half-human and half-fish to save mankind. This text describes the features of festivals, pilgrimages, architecture and charity in the Hindu religion.
7. Linga Puran deals with topics related to Lord Shiva. Lingam is a symbol of Lord Shiva. It describes the introduction of the Shivalinga and the rules of the devotion of Lord Shiva. The appearance of twelve Jyotirlinga and the marriage story of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It also discusses the things related to Lord Shiva like Rudraksha and belpatra and their importance.
8. Padma Puran talks about the ethnic ways of Living a happy and prosperous life. The Padma means lotus flower. Padma Puran contains manuscripts of 55, 000 verses each. It describes the topics such as cosmology, genealogy, rivers, geography, seasons and temples. According to Padma Puran, a dip in the holy rivers like Ganga will wash the sins and respecting a cow will give all the virtues.
9. Kurma Puran describes the stories of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a tortoise. He took this form in the churning of the ocean to support the mountain. It also explains the evolution of the universe and other incarnations of Lord Vishnu like Vaman. It also describes the descent of the river Ganga to the earth from the heavens, pilgrimages like Prayag, Gaya and Pushkar and stories of the great devotees of Lord Vishnu like Prahalad and Dhruva.
10. Vaman Puran is named upon the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Vaman. But it is a lord Shiva-based Puran. While it consists of some stories of Lord Vishnu also. Vaman Puran consists of the stories of religious sites and temples.
11. Varaha Puran talks about the tales of the pig incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He took the Pig incarnation to rescue the stolen earth from the Sea. It belongs to Vaishnavism describing the greatness of Lord Vishnu. But it also contains some chapters praising Lord Shiva and Shakti.
12. Vayu Puran consists of topics related to geography, temples, caste and four ashramas. Vayu Puran is named upon the wind God vayu. It also tells the importance of last rites after death and the names of various dynasties of kings and sages. Vayu Puran also discusses about yoga and meditation practices.
13. Naradiya Puran describes all the important topics related to the Hindu religion. The incarnations of Lord Vishnu, temples, festivals, Vrats, tithis, pilgrimages, sages, astronomy, religious heritages etc. a wide range of topics are included in the Naradiya Puran.
14. Agni Puran covered by the topics such as cosmology, politics, geneology, laws, army, medicine, architecture, grammar, agriculture and travel guide. Agni Puran is dedicated to the old stories of Shiva, Vishnu and Shakti.
15. Bhavishya Puran tells about the major features of the Hindu religion. Festivals related to Hindu Gods and their dates on the lunar calendar, vratas, charity, holy sites, and Indian history. The description of Kaliyug is one of the important topics which is covered in this book.
16.Bhagwata Puran is also called Shrimad Bhagwata Mahapuran. This holy text is a collection of stories dedicated to Lord Shri Krishna. This book also contains various tales about the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and his great devotees such as Prahalad, Dhruva, Ambrisha, etc. This story was preached by the sage Sukhdev, the son of Vedvyas to the king Parikshit, who was the grandson of Pandavas.
17. Brahmavaivarta Puran consists of the tales of Lord Sri Krishna and his beloved Radha. It is divided into four parts named as Brahma Khand, Prakriti Khand, Ganesh Khand and Shri Krishna Khand. The first part describes the creation of the universe from the body of Lord Vishnu. The second part describes the greatness of Devi. Radha, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Savitri are the Goddesses and are equivalent to the gods. The third part describes the greatness of the god of new beginnings Lord Ganesha. The last part contains tales of Lord Shri Krishna.
18. Brahmanda Puran describes about the theories of the beginning of the universe. Brahmanda Puran is an encyclopedia about topics such as cosmology, astronomy, the geography of the earth, travel guide, duties, Ayurveda, festivals etc. Brahmanda Puran includes a special section praising the Goddess Lalitha. Lalitha Sahasranamam is a prayer to please the Goddess Lalitha. It also contains some features of the epic Ramayana describing the devotion of Lord Shri Ram.