Hindu Purāṇa- 18 Maha (Major) & 18 Upa (Minor) Puranas

Hindu Puranas are a genre of ancient texts originally written in Sanskrit that contain a wide range of legends, cosmological narratives, genealogies, religious teachings, and historical accounts. The Puranas are classified as a type of Smriti literature, which means they are considered human-authored texts and are distinct from the more authoritative Sruti texts like the Vedas. The Puranas were composed in the post-Mahabharata period. 

18 Mukhya Puranas (Major Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas)

There are 18 Upapuranas :

  1. Sanat-kumara
  2. Narasimha
  3. Brihan-naradiya
  4. Siva-rahasya
  5. Durvasa
  6. Kapila
  7. Vamana
  8. Bhargava
  9. Varuna
  10. Kalika
  11. Samba
  12. Nandi
  13. Surya
  14. Parasara
  15. Vasishtha
  16. Ganesha
  17. Mudgala
  18. Hamsa

Mahapurana is well known, and that what is less well known becomes an Upapurana that is Upapurana is ahistorical, means there is little corroborating evidence. There are also many regional and minor Puranas that focus on specific deities, legends, and traditions associated with different parts of India.

In Devi Bhagavata the Vayu Purana is mentioned instead of the Shiva Purana. The Mahapuranas have also been classified based on a specific deity, although the texts are mixed and revere all gods and goddesses:


Brahma PuranaPadma Purana


Brahma Vaivarta Purana


Agni Purana


Shiva PuranaLinga Purana


Vishnu PuranaBhagavata PuranaSkanda PuranaVaraha PuranaNāradeya PuranaGaruda PuranaVayu PuranaVaraha Purana, Matsya PuranaBhavishya PuranaVāmana PuranaKūrma PuranaMārkandeya Purana, Brahmānda Purana


Devi-Bhagavata PuranaMarkandeya PuranaBrahmanda PuranaSkanda Purana


All major Puranas contain sections on Devi (goddesses) and Tantra; the six most significant of these are: Markandeya PuranaShiva PuranaLinga PuranaBrahma Vaivarta PuranaAgni Purana and Padma Purana

  • Brahma Puranas: Primarily focus on the mythology and legends associated with the creator deity Brahma. The Brahma Puranas include the Brahma Purana, the Brahmānda Purana, the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, the Markandeya Purana, and the Bhavishya Purana.
  • Vishnu Puranas: These Puranas center around the deity Vishnu and his various avatars (incarnations). The Vishnu Puranas include the Vishnu Purana, the Narada Purana, the Garuda Purana, the Padma Purana, and the Varaha Purana.
  • Shiva Puranas: These Puranas are dedicated to the deity Shiva and encompass various, legends, and teachings associated with him. The Shiva Puranas include the Shiva Purana, the Linga Purana, the Skanda Purana, the Agni Purana, and the Matsya Purana.
  • Skanda Puranas: The Skanda Purana is the largest Purana with 81,000 verses, named after deity Skanda, the son of Shiva and Uma, and brother of deity Ganesha. The text weaves the stories of Shiva and Vishnu, along with Parvati, Rama, Krishna and other major gods.

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