According to the popular legends, the Kaliya snake had a previous conflict with Garuda whom Kaliya had neglected to honour with the gift of an offering. In this clash, Kaliya got wounded and took shelter in a pool of water from which Garuda was excluded due to one of his own previous offenses. Thus, Kaliya poisoned it with his intoxicating venom to such an extent that its vapour became so lethal to birds and animals that even a single drop of water could cause instant death. As per one of the legends, once Krishna heard that this water poisoned some of his cowherd friends, he ran for their help and revitalized them with one ambrosia-like glance of him. Krishna then kicked Kaliya almost to death and danced on him. This particular phase is popularly known as Kaliyadamana in the Indian mythology.
Later, the friends and relatives of Kaliya pleaded before Krishna and Kaliya was spared to become one of Krishna's devotees. This particular story also represents the historical animosity between the garudas and the nagas. Even if Kaliya was pardoned, Garuda and the nagas remain enemies and the battle was never resolved. It is only Vishnu who brings together these two enemies as he sleeps on the serpent 'Shesha' and uses Garuda as his vehicle. But, this too is merely because he is the creator of the universe and thus patches up all conflicts.