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Introduction of the polygar (palayakkarar) system In his administrative improvements Viswanatha was ably seconded by his Prime Minister

Ariyanatha Mudaliar (or, as he is still commonly called, Ariyanatha), a man born into a poor Vellala family in Meippedu village, Tondaimandalam (the present day Kanchipuram district) who had won his way by sheer ability to a high position in the Vijayanagar court.[26][27] When the Vijayanagara empire fell, he became the Dalavoy (General) and the second-in command to the Vijayanagara viceroy Viswanatha Nayaka of Madurai.[23] Ariyanatha Mudaliar utilized the palayam or poligar system which was widely used to govern the Nayak kingdom. The system was a quasi-fedual organization of the country, which was divided into multiple palayams or small provinces; and each palayam was ruled by a palayakkarar or a petty chief.[23] Ariyanatha organized the Pandyan kingdom into 72 palayams and ruled over the 72 dry-zone poligars chiefs for over fifty years. The feudal chiefs of southern Tamil Nadu continue to be specially attached to his memory to this very day.[20][23] Each was placed in charge of one of the 72 bastions of the Madurai fortifications. They were responsible for the immediate control of their estates. They paid a fixed tribute to the Nayaka kings and maintained a quota of troops ready for immediate service. The Meenakshi Temple, destroyed by the Mohammedans was re-constructed in 1569. At the entrance of the Thousand Pillar Mandapam, we can still see the statue of Ariyanatha Mudaliar seated on a beautiful horse-back which flanks one side of the entrance to the temple. The statue is still periodically crowned with garlands by modern worshippers. He lived until 1600 and had great influence upon the fate of the Nayaka dynasty until his death. Ariyanatha Mudaliar was not only the pre-colonial military man but also enjoyed a cult status in southern Tamil Nadu and became a tutelary patron figure amongst some of the region's cattle-keeping predator groups. These men did much for the country in those days, founding villages, building dams, constructing tanks and erecting temples. Many of them bore the title of Nayakkan, and hence the common "nayakkanur" as a termination to the place names in this district. They also brought with them the gods of the Deccan, and thus we find in Madurai many shrines to Ahobilam and other deities who rarely are worshipped in the Tamil country. Their successors, the present zamindars of the district, still look upon Ariyanatha as a sort of patron saint. Visvanatha Nayaka added the fort of Trichinopoly to his possessions. The Vijayanagar viceroy who governed the Tanjore country had failed to police the pilgrim roads which ran through Trichinopoly, to the shrines at Srirangam and Ramesvaram, and devotees were afraid to visit those holy places. Visvanatha exchanged that town for his fort at Vallam, in Tanjore. He then improved the fortifications and town of Trichinopoly, and the temple of Srirangam, and he cleared the banks of the Cauvery river of robbers.

Visvanatha had difficulty with some of the local chieftains, who resisted his authority in Tinnevelly, but after vanquishing them he improved that town and district. Visvanatha died aged and honoured in 1563. He still is affectionately remembered as having been a great benefactor of his country.