Ten years ago, in October 2005, 4 people with common interests like photography and technology came together to create an online platform to share images. What they created went on to become synonymous with wildlife photography in India and is now a decade old. India Nature Watch (INW) started by Vijay Cavale, Sudhir Shivaram, Yathin Krishnappa and Kalyan Varma has been, and continues to be the main repository for Indian wildlife images.

With just 300 users in its first year, INW today has 10,600+ users who have contributed some 500,000 images of wildlife found in India. This is a remarkable feat, as the website is a completely non-commercial initiative. Viewed in 150 countries with image views exceeding 1.5 million each month and with over 10 million hits a month, INW has created a unique web-based community.

On its 10th anniversary, JLR Explore spoke to the founders of INW on how it all began and what lies in store for the years to come.

Vijay Cavale

“I am quite delighted to know that INW today has knitted together a very large group of nature lovers. I wish every single one of them great joy in the coming years while I continue to share their joy everyday!”

Vijay also said that the coming together of diverse people from across India and the cementing of many relationships on this forum is one of the highlights of the last ten years for him. Going forward, he would like to focus on harnessing current technology while keeping the basic ingredients the same.

Vijay HornbillMalabar Grey Hornbill – Ganeshgudi – February 2014

Sudhir Shivaram

“Personally for me, INW is the platform which gave me the foundation to take my hobby and passion forward, and help me grow my interest and love towards nature. INW has always been an integral part of my life.”

Sudhir LeopardIndian Leopard – Bhadra Tiger Reserve – October 2004

This image is a part of the INW logo.

Yathin Krishnappa

Reminiscing over how it all began, Yathin said, “It feels like it was only weeks ago that the four of us were sitting in Vijay’s house and talking to a web developer about building the site, and how quickly 10 years have flown by! Yahoo groups had just decided that they would no longer store images on the Groups website, and that meant a mailing list like India-Nature-pixs would not be a valuable store for photographs. Vijay, Kalyan and I were driving to the Anamalais when Vijay first told us about his plan for INW and it just took off from there.”

Yathin DholeDhole – Bandipur – August 2006

Kalyan Varma

“It has been an amazing ride to be a part of INW – it started with a few like-minded photographers getting together and has emerged into what it is today. INW has become one of the largest nature photography platforms in the world and it was instrumental in the coming-of-age of Indian wildlife photography.”

Kalyan ElephantIndian Elephant – BR Hills – October 2005