Lord Garuda is a large humanoid bird that means half human half bird. He is found in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. In Hindu culture Garuda is the other name for the constellation Aquila. Nowadays Phoenix and Brahminy kite are considered to be the contemporary form of Garuda.
In Hindu religion He is found to be the mount of the Lord Vishnu. Garuda is the son of a great sage, Kashyap and Vinata, the daughter of Daksha. Garuda hatched out from an egg laid by Vinata and became the king of birds.
In the Hindu mythology Garuda has been depicted as a bird like creature. He is described as emerald in colour, golden wings and four arms, talons and beak of an eagle and roundish eyes. The body and limbs are like those of human beings. Among four arms, two hands carry an umbrella and the pot of amrita whereas the other two remain folded in adoration.
Kashyap had two wives- Kadru and Vinata. Kadru, the elder wife had great rivalry for Vinata. Once each of them had an argument and bet over the colour of a horse. Kadru won the bet and as per their agreement imprisoned Vinata in the nether regions guarded by serpents. From then there is a lasting enmity between the serpents and the eagle like kite.
Garuda is also known as an eternal sworn enemy of snakes. Garuda is often worshipped as an amulet to protect the bearer from snake attack and its enemy. According to the great epic Mahabharata, Garuda had six sons. They are named as Suvarna, Sumukha, Subala, Sunethra, Sunaama and Suvarchas. These six sons of Him were considered to be the descended of the race of birds.
Lord Garuda is worshipped for His strength to remove evil-doers. Indian army uses Garuda as their symbol. There is a special force unit in Indian Air Force on His name. In Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh there is a rock cliff named Garuda rock.