Kaliya was a serpent who lived at Ramanaka Dwipa with his family. But Kaliya was no ordinary serpent. He was huge in size and had many hoods. Kaliya was chased away by Garuda and so he moved to the Yamuna river near Vrindavan with his family. Lord Krishna too resided there, right in Vrindavan, but he was still a child at that time. Kaliya soon polluted the river with his poison and the river turned black in colour. The villagers no longer used the water from that river and hence no one even went near it, but the children did not know of this.
One day Lord Krishna was playing with his friends. After playing for a long time, they all felt thirsty and decided to drink water from the river. When Krishna went near the river, he took some water and found it to be black and fully poisonous. So, Krishna decided to investigate and dived deep into the river. His friends grew concerned and so they decided to inform the villagers and their parents.
Krishna was swimming around in the river but Kaliya soon found him and tried to bite him. However Kaliya was too slow for Lord Krishna. Then he coiled around Lord Krishna and tried to squeeze him to death, but Lord Krishna increased his size and soon he had to let go. Kaliya was getting tired now and seizing the opportunity, Lord Krishna pulled Kaliya to the surface of the river by its tail. Without letting go of the tail, Lord Krishna started to play his flute and dance on the hoods of Kaliya. By now all the villagers were assembled near the river and they were watching this spectacle in front of them. Eventually, Kaliya started to vomit blood and was dying. Kaliya’s wives came and pleaded with Lord Krishna to spare his life. Then, Lord Krishna stopped his dance and told Kaliya to go back with his family to the sea and warned him never to return here again.