Known as a party haven, where people from all over the globe gather, the resort town of Kuta was targeted by extremists who detonated several bombs, in and around crowded nightclubs in 2002. Bali’s Ground Zero Memorial, is a beautiful stone monument that is dedicated to the 202 men and women, who lost their lives in the tragic 2002 Bali bombing. After the incident, tourists to the island were wary of Kuta and instead, opted to stay at a Bali resort hotel in the nearby town of Seminyak, such as the Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort, for instance. Not only is Seminyak home to some of Bali’s best beaches and boutique stores, it’s also considered safer and less crowded than Kuta.
Kuta has since recovered from the shock of the attack and transformed itself back into a tourist haven. However, a visit to Kuta wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse of the memorial. The monument was erected at the site of the first bombing location, where the original Paddy’s Pub was. The second bombing took place opposite the road, at the Sari Club – the club has been rebuilt at another location and the site is now used as a car park.
The memorial site is encircled by a small garden, and the intricately carved monument holds a marble plaque which lists out all the names and nationalities of the victims. The ground zero memorial was completed in 2004, and included a Hindu blessing ceremony, which gave grieving loved ones the opportunity to lay offerings and mementos at the base.
After several cleansing ceremonies, and paying respect to the deceased, the Bali initiated the “Kuta Karnival — A Celebration of Life”. The annual event was staged to show the determination of the Balinese people to move on from the tragedies as well as to encourage embracing life. The Karnival consists of art performances like the traditional Balinese Sunset Dances, sports and water sports, as well as culinary delicacies spread out over the 1 kilometre of beautiful beach.
Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.