Homopolymer bulk hydrogel of methacrylic acid was synthesized through a new single-step facile rout and used as a template for the fabrication of nickel (Ni) nanoparticles and as adsorbent to remove methylene blue (MB) and Rhodamine-6G (Rh-6G) from water. The Ni nanoparticles containing composite hydrogel was applied as catalyst for the degradation of a nitro compound. The carboxylic groups acted as highly efficient adsorption sites and their high degree was responsible for the removal of huge amounts of MB and Rh-6G from water. The maximum adsorption capacity of poly (methacrylic acid) hydrogel was 685 mg g(-1) for MB and 1571 mg g(-1) for Rh-6G. The adsorption data of MB was best fitted with Langmuir adsorption isotherm while that of Rh-6G with Temkin adsorption isotherm. Catalytic property of prepared hydrogel integrated with Ni nanoparticles was evaluated by using it as a catalyst for the degradation of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP). The apparent rate constant (k(app)) observed in this study for the reduction of 4-NP was as high as 0.038 min(-1). It was found that this catalyst system can be used repetitively with a slight decrease in catalytic activity.