Day Visitor Reservations
Why are reservations needed to visit Mount Madonna Center?
The Hanuman Fellowship and Mount Madonna Center (MMC) are committed to welcoming the
many visitors who come to MMC, while maintaining a sustainable and peaceful environment
that supports the diversity of activities at MMC and that embodies the Mission of the
‘The Hanuman Fellowship, inspired by the example and teachings of Baba Hari
Dass, is dedicated to the principles and practices of Yoga. By means of sadhana
(spiritual practice), karma yoga (selfless service), and satsang (supportive
community), we aspire to create an environment for the attainment of peace.’
After considering many factors (detailed below), the HFS Board determined that the numbers of
visitors arriving at MMC during peak weekend hours was increasing beyond the Center’s ability
to host everyone, while maintaining safety, tranquility and respect for the whole. To address
this issue, on March 1, 2017, a mandatory reservation system was implemented in order to
establish a clear process for day visitors arriving during peak weekend and holiday hours (about
14% of the Center’s open hours). Day visitors arriving during nonpeak hours (about 86% of the
Center’s open hours) do not need a reservation. While the system and strategies for welcoming
visitors continues to evolve, the need to manage within our capacity guides this process.
Balancing of Activities at Mount Madonna Center
Mount Madonna Center (MMC) is a private, not-for- profit retreat and conference center, staffed by a resident community of volunteers that hosts programs and retreats focusing on meditation, yoga, mindfulness, spirituality and education. In addition, the Center hosts Mount Madonna School, Mount Madonna Institute, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Ocean View Books and Gifts, Anjanaya’s World Café, Ayurveda World and Kaya Kalpa Wellness Center. All of these projects were initiated by Baba Hari Dass. Every year, there are more requests to use the facilities at MMC than can be accommodated. Decisions about which programs can be hosted are made dependent on timing and capacity to host and house the groups. Each weekend, the Center hosts multiple programs and activities related to these entities, and strives to meet and balance the needs of all.
Trends in Weekend Attendance
Since its inception, temple attendance has continued to grow. The numbers of people who would like to visit the temple on weekends and holidays has now exceeded our capacity to host all who want to be here at the same time. The reservation policy is intended to maintain the numbers of visitors arriving during peak hours at levels that can be accommodated, and to distribute arrivals more evenly throughout the day. Everyone is welcome to visit; however, we cannot welcome and accommodate everyone at the same time.
Physical Resources and Safety of Visitors at MMC
The number of people and cars that can be accommodated at any one time is limited by many factors, including the numbers of parking spaces, the numbers of bathrooms, the numbers of staff who can direct and host visitors and overall safety concerns. In addition to implementation of mandatory reservations during peak hours, a number of actions have been taken to improve the flow and safety of visitors. These include increased staffing, improved signage and infrastructure, and utilization of shuttle services. Additional infrustucture improvements are planned for the coming year(s) that will further enhance the Center’s ability to accommodate visitors and their experience.
Community Impact, including Neighbors and Environment
We all impact the environment and we do our best to keep as light a footprint as possible. Managing within the capacity of MMC includes the need to minimize the impact of the increased flow of visitors on the environment, on our neighbors, and on the resident community who are tasked with tending the needs of all the visitors.
Tranquility and Visitor Experience at MMC
Program participants and visitors coming for personal retreats, as well as day visitors, all indicate that they value the peaceful and tranquil setting found at MMC. Many programs are held in silence and others are facilitating personal or spiritual growth. Day visitors are encouraged to hold the space in a tranquil manner. Maintaining tranquility presents extra challenges on days with high numbers of visitors.
MMC is private property managed by the Hanuman Fellowship. The HFS Board of Directors oversees and is responsible for all of the projects at Mount Madonna Center. It has the legal and financial responsibility for managing the variety and level of activity in the organization.
Strategies guided by experience
During the first year of mandatory reservations, a number of strategies have been employed to inform and guide visitors to be able to successfully use the reservation system. The experience and data gathered helps to inform and guide strategies going forward. The proportion of visitors arriving without a reservation has declined steadily as more and more visitors know and understand the reservation system. The goal of the reservation policy is not to turn away visitors to MMC, but to ensure that all who want to visit know and use the reservation system if they chose to visit during peak hours. Those who are unable to get a reservation during peak hours are encouraged to visit at a future available date or a date when reservations are not required.