How did Karaikkal Ammaiyar become the greatest figure of Nayanar tradition?

Karaikkal Ammaiyar was a devotee of Shiva who followed the path of extreme ascetism. She did not join any religious order or become nun. This challenged the patriarchal norms because she was a free woman who had renounced her social obligations. Her compositions were preserved within the Nayanar tradition and made her one of its greatest figures.