It looks peaceful and serene in the late afternoon but Elephant Pass – a strategically important gateway controlling access to and from Jaffna, the captial of Sri Lanka's northern province - was the focus of bitter fighting between the separatist Tamil Tigers and the security forces.
This is where war memorials honor the soldiers that fell in the government's campaign against the Tigers. But nothing tells the story of the civilian lives lost. And those that remain say they're struggling to re-build homes, businesses and a broader self-sustaining local economy under the shadow of military occupation.
What's encouraging is that enlightened business leaders in the private sector are stepping up. Sri Lankan conglomerate Cargills Ceylon and hotel group Jetwing have made investments with an emphasis on hiring locally and empowering the local community.
We visited a fruit, vegetable and dairy processing center owned and operated by Cargills Ceylon in what was once a war zone.
"It was a jungle when I came here in 2013, thick, scrub jungle," general manager Samuel Neshakumar tells me over locally made fresh mango juice. Now it's a bustling and thriving factory that supports 450 farming families.
Farmer Ponniah Maheswarn says he gets a good price for his produce, and he's growing cash-crops with more certainty now that he has a guaranteed buyer.
"They give us good rates if we give them good produce. There is no issue in that," he says.