The Amara-nayaka system was a major political innovation of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is likely that many features of this system were derived from the iqta system of the Delhi Sultanate.
The Amara-nayakas were military commanders who were given territories to govern by raya. The rulers of Vijayanagara called themselves rayas.
The functions of Amara-nayakas are:
They collected taxes and other dues from peasants, craftspersons and traders in the area.
They retained part of the revenue for personal use and for maintaining a stipulated contingent of horses and elephants.
These contingents provided the Vijayanagara kings with an effective fighting force with which they brought the entire southern peninsula under their control.