The India collection consists of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sculpture, terracottas and bronzes from the 3rd to the 16th centuries from North and South India, and paintings on paper, textiles and palmleaf from the 12th to the 19th centuries.

The most important sculptures were bequeathed by Baron Eduard von der Heydt. Especially noteworthy are the early Buddhist figures from Gandhara (3rd cent.) and an exquisite stone carving of a Bodhisattva Lokeshvara from the Pala dynasty in Bihar (9th cent.). Perhaps the most famous of the Hindu sculptures is the South Indian bronze of Shiva Nataraja dating to the Chola dynasty (ca. 1000 AD). Another highlight of the collection constitutes the white marble stele showing Tirthankara Rishabhanatha, the first "teacher of humankind," considered one of the most beautiful Jain images in the world.

The Museum Rietberg owns approximately 1400 Indian miniature paintings. The main body of this collection was formed by the gift of Alice Boner in the 1960s and focuses on 18th century painting from the Pahari region in northern India. To this the museum has systematically added works from earlier periods (Sultanate and Mughal painting). Today the still growing collection includes masterpieces such as a group of works by Nainsukh of Guler (c. 1710 to 1778), album leaves from the Gita Govinda series by his sons and nephews, the frontispiece of the Boston Ragamala of Bundi (c. 1770 to 1775), and individual leaves from the Baburnama and the Akbarnama (c. 1595).