In this review article the authors presented up to-date development on the application of adsorption in the removal of dyes from aqueous solution. This review article provides extensive literature information about dyes, its classification and toxicity, various treatment methods, and dye adsorption characteristics by various adsorbents. One of the objectives of this review article is to organise the scattered available information on various aspects on a wide range of potentially effective adsorbents in the removal of dyes. Therefore, an extensive list of various adsorbents such as natural materials, waste materials from industry, agricultural by-products, and biomass based activated carbon in the removal of various dyes has been compiled here. Dye bearing waste treatment by adsorption using low cost alternative adsorbent is a demanding area as it has double benefits i.e. water treatment and waste management. Further, activated carbon from biomass has the advantage of offering an effected low cost replacement for non-renewable coal based granular activated carbon provided that they have similar or better adsorption on efficiency. The effectiveness of various adsorbents under different physico-chemical process parameters and their comparative adsorption capacity towards dye adsorption has also been presented. This review paper also includes the affective adsorption factors of dye such as solution pH, initial dye concentration, adsorbent dosage, and temperature. The applicability of various adsorption kinetic models and isotherm models for dye removal by wide range of adsorbents is also reported here. Conclusions have been drawn from the literature reviewed and few suggestions for future research are proposed.