Kalyan Varma

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Kalyan Varma
Kalyan Varma.jpg
Kalyan Varma
OccupationPhotojournalist, Filmmaker
Known forCo-founder of India Nature Watch, Nature InFocus, Peepli Project
Harpegnathos saltator fight

Kalyan Varma is a Bangalore based Natural history filmmaker, photographer and conservationist.[1] He is one of the founders of Peepli Project;[2] co-director of Nature InFocus nature and wildlife festival; founding member of India Nature Watch. He currently freelances with the BBC Natural History, Netflix, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel (India), and also works with grassroots NGOs like Nature Conservation Foundation to highlight environmental issues in India. He is a recipient of the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award.

Earlier life[edit]

Kalyan studied mechanical engineering from P.E.S. Institute of Technology, Bangalore South Campus and right after joined Yahoo! in 2001. He headed the security division of Yahoo and at that time was active in open-source software and Linux communities in India and was active in pushing these technologies in the society. He was one of the core members of the annual conference FOSS.IN. He won the superstar award in Yahoo, given to ten employees globally each year. At the end of 2004 he quit his job in order to pursue nature photography. He worked in Biligiriranga Hills for more than a year before he took up full time wildlife photography and filmmaking as a profession.

Community initiatives[edit]

Kalyan is involved in fostering community among photographers and wildlife conservationists since his early years.

In 2004 he, along with a team of photographers, founded India Nature watch, an online community which now has become the largest platform for wildlife photographers in Asia.[3] This community was involved in pushing conservation of wildlife in India via visual media.

In 2015, he co-founded the slow-journalism initiative the Peepli project, which delves deep into the unreported, under-reported, themes that public discourse currently abdicates. Kalyan undertook a year long project to document human-elephant conflict in Karnataka.[4]

He is one of the co-founders of Nature InFocus, an annual festival, portal, contest and a documentary production company which is one of the largest in the world, focussed on nature photography and conservation.[5]

Kalyan is best known for directing and producing the film Wild Karnataka which was the first nature film to be released in Cinema in India and was produced by a team of natural history filmmakers.

Wildlife documentaries[edit]

Kalyan has in the last decade dedicated himself to make wildlife documentaries. He has made various wildlife documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic Channel.


  • 2015 Sanctuary Asia - Wildlife photographer of the year [12]
  • 2013 NHM photographer of the year - Biological Realms [13]
  • 2015 Asferico international nature photography contest [14]
  • 2015 Por el Planeta - First place in Animal Behaviour [15]
  • 2017 Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation award [16]


  1. "Meet Kalyan Varma, the Visual Storyteller and Wildlife Photographer". Man's World India. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  2. "Stories, not headlines". Hindu Businessline. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. Mohan, Deepa (5 November 2007). "Bangaloreans contribute to wildlife protection". Citizen Matters, Bengaluru. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  4. "Nature without Borders". www.peepli.org. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  5. "Photography Exhibition Brings Together Nature Enthusiasts in Bengaluru". NDTV.com.
  6. http://www.iconfilms.co.uk/productions/past-productions/one-million-snake-bites.html
  7. P. Oppili (5 April 2012). "Today's Paper / NATIONAL : 'Secrets of Wild India' bags award at International Wildlife Film Festival". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  8. "Wonders of the Monsoon". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  9. "India: Natures Wonderland". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  10. "Big Cats - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  11. Datta, Sravasti (4 March 2019). "A majestic celebration: Wild Karnataka, India's first blue-chip natural history" – via www.thehindu.com.
  12. "Best Wildlife Photography Images and Nature Conservation Photos | Sanctuary Asia - The Voice of Wild India". www.sanctuaryasia.com. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  13. "Cocoon of life". www.nhm.ac.uk. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  14. "The Hunt". www.asferico.com. Retrieved 29 January 2016.[permanent dead link]
  15. Howard, Brian Clark (1 December 2015). "Stunning Images Show the Impact of Man on Nature". National Geographic News. National Geographic. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  16. ANI (25 March 2017). "ZEISS Wildlife Conservation Awards celebrates unsung heroes" – via Business Standard.

External links[edit]