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Markandeya Purana

This purana starts with the questions posed by Jaimini to the sage Markandeya who directs him to the four cataka birds living in the Vindhyacala range of hills. The birds later on refer to the teachings of Markandeya given to Kraustuki. The well-known and extremely popular work, the Devimahatmya (also called Candi and Durgasaptasati), forms an integral part of this purana.

The Markandeya Purana is remarkably non-sectarian in character. The Vedic deities, Indra, Brahma, Agni and Surya, as also the sun-myths, get greater coverage than Visnu or Siva. There is a clear trend towards popularising the srauta and the smarta rites which had begun to be neglected by the people.

Apart from the usual subjects of creation, dissolution, the manvantaras and genealogies, this purana has also dealt with the following topics: legends of Hariscandra, Kartavirya and also of the queen Madalasa; descriptions of hell, karma and its fructification; some aspects of yoga; geographical description of Bharata and sraddhas.