There are two types of prayer flags. The horizontal ones are called Lung ta and the vertical ones are called Darchog. Prayer flags are traditionally sold in sets of five, one for each of the five colors associated with the five elements.
Traditional prayer flags featured a powerful horse in the center carrying three flaming jewels on its back. These jewels are called as ‘ratna’. Such type of Lung Ta flag symbolizes speedy transformation from bad luck to good fortune. The three ratnas, i.e., the three jewels, signify, The Buddha as the first jewel, Dharma, which indicate the Buddhist teachings as the second jewel and finally the third jewel signifies Sangha, the Buddhist community. These three concepts are considered as the main cornerstone of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings and traditions, and they are symbolically indicated on these flags via the three jewels (ratnas).
In addition to mantras, prayers for a long life and good fortune are often included for the person who mounts the flags.
Each corner of a flag is adorned with images or names of four powerful animals known as The Four Dignities. They are the Dragon, Garuda (eagle), Tiger and the Snow Lion.
Darchog (vertical prayer flags) are usually large rectangles that are attached to poles along the vertical edge. Darchog are symbolic in nature and are related to the Dhwaja (as mentioned within the very ancient Vedic Tradition, which included the current region of Tibet). Dhwaja is a victory prayer flag, or a flag that indicates one's supremacy over the space.
These prayer flags are considered sacred and are meant to be treated with love, respect, and reverence.