Adsorption and desorption characteristics of three insecticides on four Indian soils were studied. Insecticides used were representative of organochlorine, organophosphate, and carbomate groups. The order of adsorption of pesticides on soils was: lindane > methyl parathion > carbofuran. Compost soil had shown the maximum adsorption capacity. The order of adsorption capacity of various soils were: compost soil > clayey soil > red soil > sandy soil. Adsorption isotherms were better fitted to Freundlich model and Kf values increased with increase in organic matter content of the soils. Thermodynamic parameters indicated favorable adsorption of all the three pesticides in four different soils. Adsorption was exothermic in nature. Distilled water desorbed 30-60% of adsorbed pesticides whereas; organic solvents were able to affect 50-80% of sorbed pesticides. Clay content and organic matter played a significant role in pesticide adsorption and desorption processes. Hysteresis effect was observed in red, clayey and compost soils. Hysteresis effect increased with increase in organic matter and clay content of the soils. © 2008.