This corpus of texts tells of the origins and traditions of particular Tamil Shiva temples or shrines.

There are numerous Sthala Puranas, most written in vernaculars, some with Sanskrit versions as well.

Gavin Flood connects the rise of the written Purana historically with the rise of devotional cults centring upon a particular deity in the Gupta era: the Puranic corpus is a complex body of materials that advance the views of various competing cults. Narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of Vishnu. Lists major rivers of India and places of pilgrimage, and a short tour guide for each.

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Douglas Harper states that the etymological origins of Puranas is from Sanskrit Puranah, literally "ancient, former," from pura "formerly, before," cognate with Greek paros "before," pro "before," Avestan paro "before," Old English fore, from proto-Indo-European *pre-, from root *per-." An early occurrence of the term 'purana' is found in the Chandogya Upanishad (7.1.2), translated by Patrick Olivelle as "the corpus of histories and ancient tales" (The Early Upanisads, 1998, p. The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad refers to purana as the "fifth Veda",, reflecting the early religious importance of these facts, which over time have been forgotten and presumably then in purely oral form. Old manuscripts of Brahmanda Purana have been found in the Hindu literature collections of Bali, Indonesia. Describes how Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma collaborate.

Importantly, the most famous form of itihāsapurāṇaṃ is the Mahabharata. It is important to bear in mind that perhaps a thousand years separates the occurrence of this term in these Upanisads from 'The Puranas' understood as a unified set of texts (see below), and it is therefore by no means certain that the term as it occurs in the Upanisads has any direct relation to what today is identified as 'The Puranas'. Many chapters are a dialogue between Vishnu and the bird-vehicle Garuda.

Similarly, texts from Vedic literature, Smritis and Sutras were incorporated into the Puranas, older verses were replaced with new ones, thereby creating manuscripts with the same name but inconsistent content.

The high degree of inconsistency and manuscript corruption occurred particularly from the 12th century onwards, evidenced by cross referencing across the texts; Matsya Purana, for example, stated that Kurma Purana has 18,000 verses, while Agni Purana asserts the same text has 8,000 verses, and Naradiya attests that Kurma manuscript has 17,000 verses.

It starts with introduction, a future devotee is described as ignorant about the god yet curious, the devotee learns about the god and this begins the spiritual realization, the text then describes instances of god's grace which begins to persuade and convert the devotee, the devotee then shows devotion which is rewarded by the god, the reward is appreciated by the devotee and in return performs actions to express further devotion.

Over time, states Om Prakash, chapters and verses from one Purana were transferred or interpolated into another Purana.The extant Puranas, states Coburn, are not identical to the original Puranas. 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.Rajendra Hazra notes that Puranas that survive presently do not follow, partially or totally, the characteristic definition of the scope and contents of Puranas as described in ancient non-Puranic Indian texts. 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. Dedicates one chapter each, from Chapters 92 to 109, to summarize the other 17 Maha Puranas and itself.The Puranas include cosmos creation myths such as the Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean). It is represented in the Angkor Wat temple complex of Cambodia, and at Bangkok airport, Thailand (above).Here the Puranic literature follows a general pattern.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.