Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple was founded by Hindu Monk, Baba Hari Dass (Babaji) in 2003 with a vision to keep it open and free for all worshippers. The open air Temple is located on the grounds of Mount Madonna Center (MMC), which is run by a public non-profit organization in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California.
Temple Reservation. Temple at Mount Madonna Center. Worship Without Reservation. Freedom of Worship. Religious Liberty. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir. mountmadonna. Hindu. Yoga. Baba Hari Dass.
As of March 1, 2017, the management of MMC is enforcing Mandatory Reservation System. People are required to make a reservation online in order to visit the Temple on weekends and major Holidays. Limited number of online reservation spots are released by the management. The number of reservation spots changes every week. People have to wait weeks, and often months, before they get a reservation spot to visit the Temple. Many Temple visitors without reservations are turned away, even when they have driven far and were not aware of the Mandatory Reservation System.
Here are some interesting myths and facts about Mandatory Reservation System at Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple:
MYTH: The Center can lose its permit to operate if daytime visitors exceed a certain number set by the County of Santa Cruz. The use permit issued by the County restricts the number of visitors to the Temple. To continue Center operations, the MMC management has to limit the number of people who visit Temple on the weekend and holidays.
FACT: The County puts no limit on the number of day visitors to Temple or Center for use of trails, gardens or such outdoor activities. According to the County of Santa Cruz Planning Department, the use permit issued to the Center limits the number of people who reside at the Center permanently and the number of people who temporarily occupy beds.
Click here to read correspondence with the County of Santa Cruz Planning Department.
MYTH: The County put trackers on Summit Road to monitor and limit the number of car trips to MMC.
FACT: Summit Road is in the jurisdiction of Santa Clara County. The County has no intention of limiting the traffic on Summit Road or to the Center.
Click here to read correspondence with the Santa Clara County Deputy Director, Roads and Airports Department.
MYTH: People are turned away because there is not enough parking at MMC.
FACT: Cars are turned away even when there is ample available parking. The property has multiple parking lots with well over two hundred parking spaces. If a family with one reservation comes in two separate cars, only the family members in one car are allowed to enter. Second car with rest of family is refused entry. Even people who walk or bike to the Center from nearby Mount Madonna County Park are denied entry if they have no reservation.
MYTH: People don't mind being turned away from Temple.
FACT: On Saturday April 29, 2017 Sankat Mochan Hanuman Sangha organized a protest against the Mandatory Reservation System. We collected 245 signatures on our Petition in 6 hours. The protest was held on Summit Road next to the County Park, with a permit from the County. All these signatures were from people in cars that stopped to sign our petition. That is one petition signed every 88 seconds!! About 235 signatures were from active temple visitors and all of them were very dismayed with the idea of being turned away from temple!! Residents on Summit Road also signed the petition.
Click here to read the petitions.
EXAMPLE: On Saturday January 13, 2018, four people in car that drove all the way from Sacramento (3 hours each way) were turned away. This group had never visited Hanuman Temple before and did not know about Mandatory Reservation System . They were not allowed to enter the Temple and were turned away at the gate. All of them were very upset about being turned away. This is just one recent example. There were more that day and on many previous weekends.
IMPORTANT: Almost all Temple visitors follow Hinduism and are of Indian Heritage. It is considered very inauspicious by people from that culture to be turned away from Temple.
MYTH: In the United States it is normal practice to require reservation at a place of worship.
FACT: We consulted these experts:
• The University Chaplain at Yale
• Director of the Mission Church at Santa Clara University
• Director in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, Virginia
• Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte
In their opinion it is unheard of in the Judeo-Christian community to turn away people from regular worship services. Rather, hospitality and welcoming the stranger are norms of world religion.
Click here to read their comments.
MYTH: A place of worship is not compatible with a residential area, or an academic institution, or a retreat center.
FACT: Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are very commonly located in residential areas and are often found on college and school campuses. The non-profit that operates Mount Madonna Center has its tax exemption on a religious basis.