Throughout history, rulers of each era recognised the importance of naval force and the critical need for vigilance on their Kingdom's naval borders. As a result, sea forts have been protecting sea routes and coasts for centuries. The Aangre Family, known as the Konkan Coast Naval Commands, practically ruled the sea. Many generations of Aangres have fought hard to protect the sea coasts over the centuries.
Suvarnadurg Fort is situated on a small island in the Arabian Sea near Harnai in Konkan, along India's West Coast, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The fort also includes a small land fort called Kanakadurga, located at the base of the headland of Harnai port on the coast. The fort was built in 1660 by Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire. Shivaji, other Peshwas, and the Angres fortified the defences for defence purposes.
Suvanadurga's literal meaning is "Golden Fort," as it was considered the pride or "feather in the golden cap of Marathas." The fort was built for the Maratha Navy for defence purposes and housed a shipbuilding facility. The primary goal of constructing the fort was to repel enemy attacks, primarily by European colonialists but also by local chieftains.
A tunnel was used to connect the land and sea fort, but it is now defunct. The sea fort is currently only accessible by boat from the Harnai port on the headland. It is a protected landmark.
The fort is on an island in the Arabian Sea off the west coast of Ratnagiri district, off the Kanakadurga fort and below the headland Harnai port. Dapoli, a hill station near Chiplun, is 17 kilometres (11 miles) from Harnai.
The harbour fort of Kanakadurga, which was originally built as a strategic link to the sea fort, has a lighthouse. Harnai, close to the dilapidated Kanakadurg fort, is an important harbour on the edge of the land that protrudes into the Arabian Sea. This is a natural harbour well-known for commercial fishing and marketing. The Kanakadurga Fort and other landside forts, such as Bankot Fort, Fategad Fort, and Gova Fort, are thought to have been built primarily as lookout forts for the security of the Suvarnadurg Fort. The Suvarnadurga Fort has no landing jetty. The landing, however, is on the sandy beach of the rocky island. Another feature of the area is a narrow channel that separates the mainland forts of Gova, Kanakadurg, and Fattehgarh.
The hidden main gate leads to the east. It has a tortoise carved on the threshold and Maruti cut on the side wall (Hanuman). Several buildings, water tanks, and ordnance storage areas were inside the fort.
The fort was most likely built in the 17th century by the Bijapur kings. Captured and strengthened by Shivaji, it became a Maratha navy stronghold and remained with the Peshwas until 1818 AD. It was one of the Angres' main naval bases.
Harnai Beach is a beautiful and serene beach located near Suvarnadurg Fort. It offers a peaceful environment and picturesque views of the sea. Visitors can enjoy beach walks, relax on the sandy shores, and witness the local fishing activities.
Murud Beach is another popular beach destination near Suvarnadurg Fort. Known for its pristine shoreline and clear waters, it offers a peaceful and scenic atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy water sports like jet skiing and parasailing or relax and soak in the sun.
Anjarle Beach is a tranquil and less crowded beach located near Suvarnadurg Fort. Lush green hills and coconut groves surround it, offering a pristine environment for relaxation and solitude. The beach is also known for the Kadyavarcha Ganpati Temple, a popular pilgrimage site.
The Keshavraaj Temple is a significant Hindu temple located near Suvarnadurg Fort. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is known for its architectural beauty and spiritual importance. The temple complex also includes a stepwell and offers a peaceful ambience for prayer and reflection.
Harnai is known for its dolphin sightings, and several tour operators offer dolphin safaris. Visitors can embark on a boat ride into the Arabian Sea to witness these playful creatures in their natural habitat. It is a unique and exciting experience for nature enthusiasts.
Dabhol Jetty is a popular spot near Suvarnadurg Fort, offering stunning views of the sea and the coastline. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the jetty, enjoy the sea breeze, and capture memorable photographs of the picturesque surroundings.
Karde Beach is a pristine and lesser-known beach near Suvarnadurg Fort. It is known for its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful sunsets. Visitors can take long walks on the beach, enjoy horseback rides, and savour local seafood at the beachside shacks.
The best time to visit Suvarnadurg Fort is during winter, which lasts from November to February. During this time, the weather is pleasant, with mild temperatures, making it ideal for exploring the fort and its surroundings.
The winter season in Suvarnadurg Fort offers comfortable temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). The humidity levels are relatively low, and the skies are usually clear, allowing for better visibility and enjoyable sightseeing.
It is important to note that Suvarnadurg Fort is located on the coast, and the monsoon season (June to September) brings heavy rainfall to the region. The fort may not be easily accessible or safe during this time due to slippery pathways and rough seas.
The summer season (March to May) in Suvarnadurg Fort can be hot and humid, with temperatures reaching around 30°C to 35°C (86°F to 95°F). The scorching heat may make outdoor activities uncomfortable, so it is advisable to carry sun protection and stay hydrated if visiting during this period.
The winter season provides the most favourable conditions for visiting Suvarnadurg Fort. However, checking the weather forecast before planning your trip is always a good idea, as weather patterns can vary from year to year.