This market is cheaper and more hectic than Dilli Haat. Merchants mainly sell clothes, with sunglasses and other merchandise in the mix. Goods here are typically export surplus, so you can get some good deals.

Even so, bargaining is still relative. At the Janpath street market, I spotted a pair of peacock feather earrings that cost only 65 rupees. I paid that amount because I felt no need to haggle over something that cost less than $2.

Although better deals can be found at Janpath shops, you'll also have to contend with beggars and people trying to sell you everything from wooden snakes to miniature chess sets along the streets. I had a good laugh when one guy put a vibrating handheld massager on my back, causing me to jump.

After you've worked up an appetite shopping at Janpath, go to nearby Connaught Place. Try some tasty dosas at Sagar Ratna (http://www.sagarratna.in), which specializes in southern Indian cuisine. A meal for two, including dosas and fresh fruit juice, will cost you less than $7.

For a more expensive experience, check out the magical atmosphere at the upscale Veda (http://www.vedarestaurants.com), also at Connaught Place. Don't miss the Daal Veda, black lentils cooked with tomato puree and ginger garlic paste along with Indian spices.

Janpath starts at Connaught Place and runs south past Rajpath — Delhi's version of Washington, D.C.'s National Mall.

More adventurous shoppers can take the Metro from near the Rajpath (the Central Secretariat stop) to a congested shopping bazaar called Chandni Chowk. Construction on the extension of the Metro system south is underway as Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games in October.

I went to Chandni Chowk twice — once during the day after visiting Mohandas Gandhi's memorial and the other at night before attending the sound and light show next door at the Red Fort.

Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. People either love or hate its fast-paced nature.

Although I purchased only a few gifts here, this market made the biggest impression: thick, humid air heavy on the skin; the smells of car exhaust, sewage and tobacco smoke; hot deep-fried snacks dripping with sticky syrup. Add some rickshaws and cows wandering about and you get the idea.

Less than two days after returning to my home in the Sierra Nevada foothills, I was in a local bookstore where my wife pointed out that the same scarf around my neck (the Sanskrit one from Janpath) was for sale near the cash register.

Not only was it six times what I had paid, but it's purchase wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

travel@latimes.com