The Hanuman Chalisa (Hindi pronunciation: literally Forty chaupais on Hanuman) is a Hindu devotional hymn (stotra) addressed to Lord Hanuman. It is traditionally believed to have been authored by 16th-century poet Tulsidas in the Awadhi language, and is his best known text apart from the Ramcharitmanas. The word "chālīsā" is derived from "chālīs", which means the number forty in Hindi, as the Hanuman Chalisa has 40 verses (excluding the couplets at the beginning and at the end).
Hanuman is a devotee of Ram and one of the central characters in the Indian epic, the Ramayan. According to some Shaivite beliefs, Lord Hanuman is also an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Folk tales acclaim the powers of Hanuman. The qualities of Hanuman – his strength, courage, wisdom, celibacy, devotion to Lord Rama and the many names by which he was known – are detailed in the Hanuman Chalisa. Recitation or chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa is a common religious practice. The Hanuman Chalisa is the most popular hymn in praise of Lord Hanuman, and is recited by millions of Hindus every day.
The authorship of the Hanuman Chalisa is attributed to Tulsidas, a poet-saint who lived in the 16th century CE. It is said in the last stanza of the Chalisa that whoever chants it with full devotion to Hanuman, will have Hanuman's grace. Among Hindus worldwide, it is a very popular belief that chanting the Chalisa invokes Hanuman's divine intervention in grave problems, including those concerning evil spirits.
Tulsidas (1497/1532–1623) was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion for Rama. A composer of several popular works, he is best known for being the author of the epic Ramcharitmanas, a retelling of the Ramayana in the vernacular Awadhi language. Tulsidas was acclaimed in his lifetime to be a reincarnation of Valmiki, the composer of the original Ramayan in Sanskrit. Tulsidas lived in the city of Varanasi until his death. The Tulsi Ghat in Varnasi is named after him. He founded the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of Hanuman.Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaption of the Ramayan. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in Hindi, Indian, and World literature.The impact of Tulsidas and his works on the art, culture and society in India is widespread and is seen to date in vernacular language, Ramlila plays, Hindustani classical music, popular music, and television series.