Nelson-Atkins Passport to India


Each year, Passport to India brings the museum to life with a celebration of South Asian art, culture, music, dance, fashion, and food.

This year, we celebrate India and her South Asian and Middle Eastern neighbors virtually and hope you enjoy a close-up, digital look at these vibrant cultures.

Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists

Echoes Exhibition

How do contemporary artists respond to Islamic art and culture in their own work? Our virtual exhibition explores these questions through a series of visual conversations that make connections across cultures, geography, and time.

Pakistani Tradition with an American Truck

Kansas City artist Asheer Akram imagined creating a traditional Pakistani cargo truck. Watch as he brings his idea to reality in this video produced by Rich Sugg with the Kansas City Star.


Vyala Tray Stand

This tray stand may have been used for the presentation of offerings at a Hindu altar. It includes a lotus flower and a mythical animal known as a vyala. What offerings would you place on top of the Vyala Tray Stand?

Vyala Tray Stand

Draw Your Own 


Ganesha is the son of the Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati. This divine elephant-headed child has always been very popular in both India and Southeast Asia and now you can create your own!


Get Creative

Object Highlights

Dancing Ganesha

Dancing Ganesha, Central India, Madhya Pradesh, Malwa, Paramara Dynasty (800-1305 C.E.), 9th century. Light gray sandstone, 39 x 20 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches (99.1 x 51.4 x 21 cm). Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 70-45.

The Lord of Dance

The Lord of Dance

Shiva Nataraja, The Lord of Dance, South India, Tamil Nadu, Chola Dynasty (850-1278 C.E.), 13th century. Bronze, 34 ¼ x 27 ½ x 13 inches (87 x 70.1 x 33.0 cm). Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 34-7.

Domestic Jain Shrine

Domestic Jain Shrine, Gujarat, India, 16th century. Wood, polychrome paint, gold leaf and mirrored glass, 80 ¾ × 71 ½ × 51 inches. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 32-136.1-21.

Paper Plates

Hamra Abbas, Pakastani (born Kuwait, 1976). Paper Plates, 2008. Paper collage, each plate, diam: 7 3/4 inches (19.7 cm). The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Purchase: acquired through funds provided by Catherine Glynn Benkaim and the Jean McCray Beals Trust, 2014.10.4.

The Great Mongol Shahnama

Join world-renowned Islamic art scholar Robert Hillenbrand as he introduces the exciting imagery and complex narrative program of the Great Mongol Book of Kings. Illustrated with pages from the museum’s collection, Hillenbrand, the world expert on this book, will bring to life the feats of love, war and courage described in the verse of Persian poet Firdausi’s epic poem and illustrated throughout the Great Mongol Book of Kings.

This June 2018 talk at the museum was co-organized with the Spencer Art Reference Library.

Our Partners

Because the museum is closed to fight the spread of COVID-19, the festival was canceled in 2020. However, many people worked hard to prepare for the event. The museum is grateful to the India Association of Kansas City, Usha Saha, Sunitha Prabhushankar, Hema Sharma, and many other community and museum volunteers who were responsible for the success of Passport to India.

Along with Passport to India, this week’s digital experience showcases Middle Eastern art works in the museum’s collection and in our exhibition Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists.