Nature-inspired algorithms are commonly used for solving the various optimization problems. In past few decades, various researchers have proposed a large number of nature-inspired algorithms. Some of these algorithms have proved to be very efficient as compared to other classical optimization methods. A young researcher attempting to undertake or solve a problem using nature-inspired algorithms is bogged down by a plethora of proposals that exist today. Not every algorithm is suited for all kinds of problem. Some score over others. In this paper, an attempt has been made to summarize various leading research proposals that shall pave way for any new entrant to easily understand the journey so far. Here, we classify the nature-inspired algorithms as natural evolution based, swarm intelligence based, biological based, science based and others. In this survey, widely acknowledged nature-inspired algorithms namely- ACO, ABC, EAM, FA, FPA, GA, GSA, JAYA, PSO, SFLA, TLBO and WCA, have been studied. The purpose of this review is to present an exhaustive analysis of various nature-inspired algorithms based on its source of inspiration, basic operators, control parameters, features, variants and area of application where these algorithms have been successfully applied. It shall also assist in identifying and short listing the methodologies that are best suited for the problem.