On the request from a Pandya king, Krishnadevaraya deputed his general NagammaNayak to Madurai to help the Pandya king. Later Krishnadevaraya sent NagammaNayak’s son ViswanathaNayak and established Nayak rule in Madurai.
Viswanatha Nayak
(1529 AD To 1564 AD)
Krishnadevaraya appointed ViswanathaNayak as viceroy or Nayak of Madurai in 1529. He ruled Madurai for about 35 years. He was the first Nayak of Madruai. He was loyal to Vijayanagar emperors. Viswanatha Nayak was assisted by his able Dalavoy Ariyanathar. \/iswanatha Nayak defeated many local chieftains and brought them under his control.

Viswanatha Nayak introduced poliga system during his period. In accordance with this system \/iswanathaNayak divided his principality in to 72 palayams. The new system enabled the Nayaks to collect revenue. The poliga system was a semi military and feudal arrangement. Through which he tightened the imperial hold over the conquered territory. Viswanatha Nayak brought the hill chief of Kambum and Gudalur under his control.
He renovated the Ranganatha temple at Srirangam and Rock temple at Trichy, the temples of Tirunelveli. He brought the Pandyas of Thenkasi and Kayathar under the poliga system.

The streets were widened, ViswanathaNayak extended the terittory of Madurai Nayak which included Trichy, Salem, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli. He brought some parts of chola. dominons and the Pandya Kingdom under his control. He constructed some forts also. ViswanathaNayak was considered as the real founder of the Nayak rule in Madurai.

Dalavoy Ariyanathar

Dalavoy was both the minister and military general during the period of ViswanathaNayak. He was an administrator of both civil and military matters. Ariyanathan was the first dalavoy during the period of ViswanahtaNayak. He contributed much for the victories and achievements of ViswanathaNayak.

Krishnappa Nayak 1564 AD To 1572 AD

He was son of ViswanathaNayak. During his period the poligas and Muslims revolted against him. But the revolts were put down by Dalavoy Ariyanathar, He developed Krishnapuram temple which is a good model for Nayak architecture. He renovated and built some temples.

Veerappa Nayak 1572 AD. To 1595 AD.

VeerappaNayak, was the eldest son of KrishnappaNayak. He was a pious and peace loving ruler. He was ably assisted by Dalavoy Ariyanathar. He developed the fort at Trichy and built a new fort at Aruppukottai, He renovated Chidambaram temple. Improvements were made in Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. After his demise Krishnappa Nayak II, Muthukrishnappa Nayak I and Muthuveerappa Nayak I ruled for sometime.