The fort is on an island in the Arabian sea on the west coast within the jurisdiction of Ratnagiri district, off the Kanakadurga fort and below the headland Harnai port. The nearest town is Dapoli, a hill station (near Chiplun), 17 kilometres (11 mi) from Harnai. Kanakadurga, the harbour fort, built originally as a strategic link to the sea fort has a lighthouse.
Harnai, near the dilapidated Kanakadurg fort, is an important harbour, which is right on the edge of the land that protrudes into the Arabian Sea. This is a natural harbour known for large fishing and marketing. It is conjectured that the Kanakadurga fort and other land side forts such as Bankot fort, Fategad fort and Gova fort were built primarily as lookout forts for the security of the Suvarnadurg fort. There is no landing jetty at the Suvarnadurga fort. However, the landing is on the shores of the sandy beach of the rocky island. Another feature of the area is that a narrow channel separates the Gova, Kanakadurg and Fattehgarh forts on the mainland.
The construction of the door is of Gomukhi type. This door is well protected since it is hidden in between two huge bastions. The door is on the east direction facing north. At the main entry, carvings of Lord Hanuman on the wall and a carved turtle on one of the leading steps can be seen. 15 bastions of the fort provide a strong structure to the fort and are still intact. There are several potable water sources (tanks, ponds and wells) in the fort; however, these dry up in the summer months. Moving towards left from the main entry gate there is a well which has plenty of water. Further from here are two granaries and a decrepit building. The fort tapers towards the southwest direction from where Kanakadurga, Fattegad and Gova fort are clearly visible. There is a hidden doorway (Chor darwaja) and a pond to store rain water on the west. Towards the northwest side there are remnants of a building, an ammunition storage facility and a water tank. Suvarnadurg fort is located on a rocky island in the Arabian Sea and the rocks on the edge have been flattened to build the fort on the elevated rocks. Some old cannons are seen opposite the main entry gate of the fort.
Ways To Reach :
From Mumbai one can reach Murud Harne which is 15 kms via Dapoli. The only approach to the fort is by boats, from Harnai. Boats have to be arranged through the local fishermen. The nearest railway station on the Konkan Railway of the Indian Railways is at Khed.
This fort which was built during the Shilahar dynasty was captured by Shivaji Maharaj in 1660 by defeating Ali Adil Shah. Shivaji Maharaj later rebuilt and strengthened the fort. The hidden entrance of the fort is one of its features. During the reign of Rajaram Maharaj, Kanhoji Angre put an end to the dishonesty of the castellan. Subsequent to Kanhoji's demise, Tulaji Angre took charge of Suvarnadurg and it became the seat of his power. However, he fell foul of the Peshwas. In the war with Tulaji Angre, Peshwas were supported by the British. In 1802, Bajirav Peshwa under attack by Yashwantrao Holkar was trying to take refuge in this fort but had to flee to Vasai as he was chased to the fort by the Holkars.
In November 1818, Colonel Kennedy, Captain Chappel and Lieutenant Dominiset attacked and captured the fort with the help of 50 soldiers and 30 seafarers.