The Amara-Nayaka system was a major political innovation of the Vijayanagara Empire. Most probably many features of this system were derived from the iqta system of Delhi Sultanate.
Nayakas of Vijayanagara were warriors holding an office bestowed on them by the central government on the condition of rendering military service.
These Nayakas possessed revenue and administrative rights over these territories. They collected taxes and other dues from peasants, craftsman and traders in the area. They used part of the revenue for personal use. Some of the revenue was also used for the maintenance of temples and irrigation work. They deposited the rest with the state treasury.
Amara - Nayaka was a designation conferred on a military officer or chief who had under his control a specified number of troops. They were required to maintain elephants, horses and soldiers in certain numbers, which were included in the royal army during wars.
Part of the revenue collected by them was used in maintaining a stipulated contingent of horses and elephants. They sent tribute to the king annually and personally appeared in the royal court with gifts to express their loyalty. Kings occasionally asserted their control over them by transferring them from one place to another.
Thus this concept led to better revenue collection, better army maintenance but in course of time, Nayakas began to assert their military, administrative and economic powers, which later became a major cause of the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire after the death of Krishnadev Raya.
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