India of the Puranas: Cultural Regions c. 500

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Map Code: Ax00938

The Puranas are Sanskrit texts, written during ancient India’s golden age c. 500 CE. While these narratives, written in couplets, describe the cosmology of the Hindu universe and the genealogy of gods, kings and the first humans (Manus), they also provide historical insights into the regional composition of India during this era. There are 18 major Puranas and, while telling of the gods, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma, they also provide a plenitude of encyclopaedic information. Study of the Puranas reveals a time of relative prosperity, artistic and scientific endeavour, where the warring kingdoms were united under a succession of kings. The last to be absorbed were the tribes in the northern Khasa region, who are described in the Puranas as an outcast group who redeemed themselves by practising Vaishnavism, a Hindu tradition. Historians have learned that their kingdom was mainly agrarian, but there was also a flourishing trade in textiles.

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