It was composed near the place where the river Godavari rises (near Nasik of Maharashtra). Generally considered as one of the oldest of the eighteen puranas.
The work as available in print now, comprises four padas as follows: Prakriya (5 chapters), Anusanga (33 chapters), Upodghata (74 chapters) and Upasamhara (4 chapters). Thus, the 12,000 verses of this purana are spread over 116 chapters in 4 padas. This is followed by Lalitopakhyana (in 40 chapters) which contains the famous Lalitasahasranama, a hymn known for its mystical power.
The subjects dealt with in this purana may be summarised briefly as follows: creation, geography of the earth and of Bharatavarsa, manvantaras, pupils of Vyasa and the distribution of the Vedasakhas or branches of the Vedas; creation of gods, demons, gandharvas, sages and their progeny; all aspects of sraddha or obsequial ceremonies in detail; exploits of the warrior-sage Parasurama; story of the descent of the river Ganga to this earth; Dhanvantari and the Ayurveda, the science of health and longevity.
The writers of the dharmasastras have quoted verses from this purana fairly extensively in support of their views.